AFGE, Local 3937
Local Business Meeting
March 8, 2017
Labor Temple, Seattle WA
Present were: Ana Rivers, Laura Novakoski, John Pfannenstein, Cinthia Diaz, James Paxton and Ivan Weich.
The meeting was called to order at 7:00pm, chaired by Ana Rivers, Local President.
James just received his QuickBooks program and laptop (after attending financial officer training in D.C. in October 2016) so he doesn’t have a 2017 report to share with us yet. We talked about how we’re spending almost the same in outgoing expenses as we receive from incoming dues, at least for the past few months. With the board’s new infrastructure needs (fax machines, laptops, locked cabinet), and the Legislative Conference in D.C., this will hopefully settle down in the remainder of the year. James talked with us about being fiscally aware and making decisions with our finances in mind. We have about $40,000 in liquid assets at Verity Credit Union. It will help that with our dues increase approved by member vote this year we went from income of about $6500 per pay period to about $8900 per pay period, but we spent 104.9% of our General Overhead budget last year (and had to move funds from another category). Getting more members is a priority.
There is an upcoming Idaho AFL-CIO convention in June, and our Legislative Coordinator for that state, Andrea Wassner, is interested in attending. She’s the Local delegate for AFGE and also holds a position on their Executive Board. Cinthia made a motion that the Local fund her attendance at the convention in Lewiston to include lodging, travel, registration and per diem expenses, not to exceed $1500.00 for 3 days; seconded by Ivan. Andrea has brought our voices and issues to her local AFL-CIO for years, and has our full support. Motion passed.
Ivan made a motion that AFGE Local 3937 stand in support of UFCW Local 21 to help the employees of the Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton, WA. They requested a letter of support from the Central Kitsap Labor Council and need the support and solidarity of each affiliated Local to sign on to the letter. Our Local participates in Central Kitsap CLC and Ivan is a delegate and VP to the Council. The medical center is in danger of being closed; it is the only hospital in the Bremerton area. It provides acute medical care services and if closed, the nearest locations for care would be approximately 30-70 miles away and patients would have to spend more in ambulance/transportation to one of these locations, or go across on the ferry to Seattle (a one hour trip) for medical treatment. UFCW represents many technician and RN positions at the hospital. John seconded. We discussed the importance of this facility and these jobs to the community and passed the motion.
Our 2nd VP, John Pfannenstein, attended the February 4-10th Washington D.C. AFGE 2017 Legislative Conference along with our other Legislative and Political Coordinators (Tim, Andrea and Monica). It was the largest since its inception, with over 1000 member in attendance. He found it to be a beneficial and eye-opening experience. They listened to speakers like National AFGE President J. David Cox, senators and congressional representatives familiar with the issues we face as federal employees and as Union officials. They gave us a lot of solidarity and support that transitioned to our visits on Capitol Hill meetings with aides and congressional representatives of our respective states and districts. We supported Pramila Jayapal of the 7th congressional district (WA) during her campaign, and she in turn is a great ally and supporter of AFGE. She supports HR 757, the FAIR Act, which if passed would grant a 3.2% pay increase to federal employees. Only she and Derek Kilmer, of the 6th congressional district (WA) gave John an affirmative response on that issue. Other representatives responded positively to our concerns about the hiring freeze, staffing issues, and attacks on our abilities to use Union official time. If our budget ends up being cut by 8.1% or $54 billion as the current administration wants, we’re looking at up to 8 weeks or 40 days of unpaid furlough time – never to be repaid to us, unlike the “shutdown” furloughs of the past. We need the support of those on Capitol Hill if we are to fight back on these attacks. Ivan and Steve also attended, and they heard Elijah Cummings, a congressman in Maryland who serves on the House Oversight Committee, speak on waste, fraud and mismanagement. This is a good reminder that we can all become involved in our communities and that we all have shared concerns to fight for together (VA, DoD, SSA).
Ivan reports that he and affiliated representatives from various state of Washington Labor Councils met with state lawmakers at the WA State Labor Council Legislative Conference. They brought concerns about recently approved voter initiatives in the November election regarding minimum wage and paid family leave, due to organizations trying to claim loopholes making them exempt from these laws (non-profits, small businesses, out of state companies). They also talked about supporting an education budget in compliance with the McCleary decision of the state Supreme Court.
AFGE recently issued a press release about a bill on the floor regarding the Official Time Reform Act of 2017 restricting reps’ access to Official Time, which would give them no duty time at all to meet with and protect employees. There is also a built-in disincentive to serve as a Union rep by excluding the salary you are paid during Official Time from your retirement computations. Call your congressman to let them know you oppose this bill as detrimental to effective administration and protection of employees’ rights to representation.
John made a motion that this evening’s LBM minutes be approved as written; Ivan seconded. Motion passed. Ivan moved to adjourn at 7:35pm; Cinthia seconded. Motion passed.
Minutes written and submitted by Laura Novakoski, Secretary.