In our recent contract negotiations, the Union wanted, and requested information about the Health Care plan and the associated costs to the Company. This is information that the Union has the right to obtain under the Railway Labor Act while in negotiations. The Company was hesitant in giving this information up to the Union, because, like with most things in life, the truth can be a little ugly. What the Company did not want the Union to know, and every employee for that matter, is that the rise in premiums and other associated costs of the Health Plan was going up at a much higher rate for the employee than for the Company. This was information that was very educational. It revealed a truth the Company did not want you to know. The days of going the extra mile in the benefits the Company once gave you are long gone.
The underlying message here to me is the importance of education. I heard a story on the radio one day about the effects of education among America's prison population. I am not suggesting that we are prisoners(although some may want to argue me on that point) but I am just pointing this out for illustrative purposes. Lois Davis is the Senior Policy Researcher at RAND corporation, and in numerous studies performed, they have discovered that when education is part of the rehabilitation program inside the prisons, the risk of an inmate being re-incarcerated once released is dramatically reduced. In fact, Ms. Davis also stated that education is the single most effective tool in rehabilitation, and has the highest success rate when it comes to inmates being re-incarcerated after release. What does this all mean to us? Like I said, I am not calling our work group inmates, but I found it interesting, the effect of education in this study. We have a new contract, and my understanding is they will be in the stations very soon. Educate yourself. Read up on it. There are changes to the contract. Know what they are and what they mean. If you are not sure, ask your Station Rep. If they don't know, they know exactly where to go for answers. Learn what the AM protection is for full time agents and part time scheduling. We have already found a situation where the company is violating this provision. When every agent knows the what the Contract says and means, we have worried supervisions and managers. If education can help a prison inmate get out of prison and never return, what can education do for our work group? Education is a powerful thing, and when we seek it out, we learn things that will benefit us for a lifetime. I am honored and grateful to be taking on this role as District Representative. I am humbled to be taking this office after a great Union advocate has filled this role for so long, and my heartfelt thanks cannot adequately express what I feel about Kevin Carney and what he has done in helping learn this position over the last year and a half as his alternate. I want to fill this position honorably and give each member in this District the representation they deserve. I look forward to meeting many more in this District and hearing the things you have to say. I want to do the work of the members. I want everyone to feel like they belong to a Union that is working for them. Thank you for your support and encouragement. Thank you for all the hard work you do everyday that makes the Company what it is today.
DUTY OF OFFICERS