2019 Look Back
Gary Hummel, Business Rep.
As we head into 2020, we have accomplished many important things including numerous successful contract negotiations which brought good benefits to our brothers and sisters. We have fought many grievances in which we have won our share and returned back to our members over $4.7 million dollars since 2013. We have also accomplished some very impressive safety records in many of our shops, with Somerset having a seventeen-year period without a lost time accident. Other shops have six to ten years, respectfully. This is something we all must work to accomplish. Above all, our safety comes first. We want every member to return home safely every day; our families are counting on us.
We will also be dealing with some very critical legislative issues, one of the most serious of which is RGGI. The Reginal Greenhouse Gas Initiative will tax emissions from coal-fired power plants, essentially making them unable to make a profit and eventually shut down. Several states in the Northeast have already joined the Reggie movement. Due to this, they have shut down most, if not all, of their coal-fired plants. Governor Tom Wolf is in full support of this movement for Pennsylvania. Some of our leadership has already met with Governor Wolf to try to stop this from moving forward. Keep in mind that 40% of our members work at these power plants that could easily shut down. We must fight back; Not only would this devastate our members; it would devastate the local economy and the school districts where these plants are located. Even though some of us are long distances from these plants, these are still our brothers and sisters fighting for their jobs through no fault of their own.
Additionally, since being a business representative, I have the responsibility of helping the Northeast and other shops in Eastern PA with issues, grievances, and questions. We have had some challenges, but as always, we will get through them. In the past two years, we have seen an overall increase in attendance at the monthly meetings and that is very encouraging. I am looking forward to the new year and catching up with the guys in the northeast at the monthly union meetings. Keep in mind that our monthly meetings are where we exchange information, explain issues, and answer questions. I urge you all to please get involved! Support your union and attend your monthly meetings. I give you my word: I will be at as many monthly meetings as I possibly can be.
In closing, I have served our local union under several different leaders and have to come to realize how complex and difficult it is to properly run our local union. The leadership we have now is by far the most competent and hard-working leadership I have worked for since I have been a part of this union. We have accomplished some great things, but we have many more to go. I have all the confidence in the world that we can do this, but we must stick together and support each other. Remember: United we stand, divided we fall.