Brothers and Sisters,
Organizing is the key to our future as an organization. We either grow, or we die on the vine. With that in mind, we are continuing to organize new companies, and contractors. We recently organized the mechanics at LRI/Waste Connections. Originally we would have said that the reasons behind the campaign were about the healthcare, pension and wages in that order. Turns out that safety actually comes before all of that. I will not get into any details here, because we are in the middle of negotiations and there is movement on the other side of the table. We have been meeting about once every 3 weeks, and things seem to be progressing in a positive direction. The bargaining unit is feeling empowered by the progress. Without the unit providing a united front, the company would be operating in the same manner that they had been in the past.
We have some contractors that are entertaining the idea of becoming signatory, and waiting for a good opportunity to make that happen. When it does happen, those of you that go to work with these companies are the most important piece of the puzzle. Without your skills and professionalism, the organizing campaigns will not work. How many of you have driven by a project that is taking multiple seasons, and thought, that job should have been done a long time ago? I know that I have. Usually, it is a non-union contractor that is involved. Your high capacity, high skill level, and exceptional professionalism out shines every time. Local 612 is committed to growing and expanding, thus promoting YOUR skills and abilities to new contractors, and companies.
A level playing field for our contractors is one of the keys to making them profitable, which in turn makes you profitable. Local 612 is committed to keeping the playing field level on your behalf. In the process of doing this, we have spent a lot of time working with Labor and Industries to keep Prevailing Wage intact, and dirty contractors honest. You know who you are, I’m glad you are reading this! This subject is quite complicated where (in my opinion) it should be easy. For all the gory details, please feel free to contact me. Otherwise, it’s safe to say that in the last month or so, there has been contractors that have paid back thousands of dollars of back wages to a hand full of employees.
What does a “level playing field” mean? Prevailing wage creates a “level playing field” by making wages standardized. This way if the contractors want to compete, they can, just not with wages. Thus insuring that there is not a race to the bottom as far as wages are concerned. In private projects, contractors can pay whatever the market will bear for wages. If one guy can pay his guys less for the same work, then he can bid less on the next project. If a contractor does not pay prevailing wage on a public project, he has the ability to underbid the contractors that are. Thus putting the law abiding contractors and you out of work.
In summary…..ORGANIZE OR DIE!