From the Desk of Secretary Treasurer Tom Quackenbush
I hope this message finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe! Our Local has had a lot of challenges this past year and one thing I have learned is that Local 294 Teamsters know how to fight the good fight! I was fortunate to be witness to these “fighters”… members who keep our union strong by stepping out of their daily routine to support their coworkers… many times this year. I am talking about our shop stewards and member leaders who understand that our strength is in our unity and solidarity. These are the members who choose to lead, learn, and stand up for fairness at work. They sit through contract negotiations, dispel anti-union misinformation, and constantly organize their peers for strength. They just seem to inherently know that the next generation of workers depend on today’s Teamsters to keep our union strong … just as we depended on the Teamsters that came before us. Think about it for a moment, every place of employment, at one point, had no union. Workers had to fight to change how things were. They risked their jobs and their families' livelihoods to stand together as one. They demanded that their right to negotiate with the employer for wages, working conditions, and benefits be recognized, and they won their fight. We cannot forget these fights. It is important that we all recognize the hard work and dedication of members who step up and become advocates of our union. This keeps us strong and moves us forward. We cannot forget that we stand on the shoulders of our predecessors and it is our duty to preserve, protect and build upon their efforts.
The 18 nurses in the Utica City School District are finally being recognized as a separate bargaining unit and can now begin negotiating immediately after a 2 year wait. The Teamster nurses wanted to break off from their current unit and negotiate separately with the school district. Shop Stewards Etta Head and Draginica Dzinic were the driving forces alongside Secretary Treasurer Tom Quackenbush in making this happen.
They brought the case to PERB (Public Employee Relations Board) and after 2 years PERB ruled in their favor. Etta says “We are extremely happy! Going forward we want a contract that meets the needs of the nurses and that will allow us to perform our jobs and be more useful to the school district.”