AFGE, Local 3937
Local Business Meeting
January 11, 2017
Labor Temple, Seattle WA
Present were: Ana Rivers, Steve Kofahl, Carrie Kitchin-Kofahl, Laura Novakoski, Ivan Weich, John Pfannenstein, Cassandra Butler, James Paxton, Cinthia Diaz, Melanie Broady.
The meeting was called to order at 7:02pm, chaired by Ana Rivers, our new Local President.
The Election Committee certified the final results for the recommended bylaws changes, the dues increase and the delegate selection – all of which were approved by a majority of members voting. The new dues for 2017 are $15.50 per pay period per member, effective with the first full pay period of the year. The new Executive Board officers were sworn into their positions at their meeting earlier today.
Our Local Treasurer who served until this month was a retired member, so we need to update our Local Policies and Procedures to discuss a salary change. Carrie made a motion that when the Treasurer is currently employed by SSA, they receive a salary of $150 /month to cover just their work that cannot be done on Union Official time; and Treasurers who are not employees of SSA should receive a higher salary of $500/month because they aren’t getting reimbursed in any other way for their time. Ivan seconded. Many of our financial procedures have become more automated over time and can be done faster than previously, and this change keeps the Local costs down. Motion passed.
James made a motion that the Local renew our affiliations with the Anchorage Central Labor Council, Boise Central Trades and Labor Council, King Co CLC, Kitsap Co CLC and Marian-Polk-Yamhill Co CLC; Laura seconded. Motion passed.
James made another motion that the Local donate $100 to the WA Fair Trade Coalition, as we do every year; Cinthia seconded. We’ve had a long relationship with this organization because we understand that SSA jobs are just as at risk as other service jobs. The work is portable, and can technically be exported and performed anywhere in the world, so we are fighting the same fight. Motion passed.
The Treasurer’s report is not available at this time but will be presented at our next meeting. The outgoing Treasurer and incoming President and Treasurer have been working with our financial institutions to update all our accounts.
The Local is working with two organizations in WA who are fighting against threats to Medicare, Medicaid and SSA. Healthcare is a Human Right Coalition deals specifically with healthcare issues, including the Affordable Care Act. We schedule meetings with elected representatives around the state, so we will be looking for members who are interested in legislative contact to help us educate them on how pending legislation would affect us and the public – such as vouchers in place of the defined Medicare program, and block granting Medicaid to the states and reducing funding. At the State Labor Council they met last week with 50 organizations represented, and expect to be very active over the next several years.
We also work with Social Security Works WA, a very active organization whose mission is to protect and expand Social Security. They talk to elected officials and challenge Republicans who may be inclined to follow their leaders and attempt to cut benefits as well as funding and staffing at the Agency. A bill called HR 6489 was introduced in the last Congress in the House Ways and Means Committee (and we expect it to recur in the next session) that would cut Social Security benefits an average of 27%, supposedly to match the expected shortfall that would happen in the distant future if we made no changes or adjustments to the program or its funding. The Social Security actuary created a nonpartisan statement on the effects of this bill that can be found online for those interested in learning more about it. Some other changes included in the bill are elimination of SS taxes for higher-income people, and instituting a chained CPI to reduce inflation linked benefit increases over time.
Anyone interested in becoming more active in your community should visit your Central Labor Council meetings and see if you can serve as a liaison and educator about Social Security issues.
Ana thanked our outgoing Local President and Executive Vice President, who attended tonight’s meeting, for their work on behalf of our bargaining unit employees for so many years. Steve is still available as part of the AFGE mentor program, and he and Carrie continue to serve as representatives-at-large for the Local.
Ivan reported that the boycott of Staples stores is over. They were on the do-not-patronize list because they had begun doing postal work that basically takes away from our USPS federal employees. The ongoing protests and actions taken by unions were reported to be effective.
Carrie made a motion that this evening’s LBM minutes be approved as written; John seconded. Motion passed.
Laura moved to adjourn at 7:50pm; Ivan seconded. Motion passed.
Minutes written and submitted by Laura Novakoski, Secretary.