Keith Judge Visits AG with New CBA

Keith Judge, Teamsters’ Field Representative, visited the Associated Grocers facility located in Pembroke at 12:30 a.m. on July 14, 2017, to meet with our Teamster members. Keith was joined by Steward Rich Charity, a 5- year employee of AG, in meeting with the drivers as they reported for work. As always, the Teamster representatives wanted to hear from the members regarding any concerns or questions they may have had. Each driver was handed a printed copy of their new Collective Bargaining Agreement which is in effect from February 26, 2017, through October 15, 2021. Keith Judge, with the assistance of Business Agent Rick Laughton and the negotiating team, successfully negotiated a contract that included substantial raises while protecting their Health Care and Pension Benefits.  Keith and Rich remained onsite until 6:00 a.m. in order to personally talk to every Teamster driver who was scheduled to work that day.  Prior to becoming a full-time Field Representative for the Teamsters, Keith Judge worked at AG from 2006 through 2015. 

NH DOC Unsustainable Overtime – A Snapshot

Jeff Padellaro has made the Governor aware, through direct communication, that the current staffing levels of the Department of Corrections are unacceptable. The overtime necessary to maintain critical staffing for the Concord facility on July 8th and 9th was beyond unacceptable. On the 8th of July over 49% of the posts were filled by officers working overtime; on July 9th, over 47% of the posts were filled by officers working overtime. The majority of those officers are forced to work double shifts several times a week. The men and women who work for the Department of Corrections are dedicated professionals who have continually reported to work knowing that their 8- hour shift will more likely than not result in an 16- hour stay. The state has failed to recruit a sufficient number of recruits to reverse this dangerous trend. The only way to increase recruitment in this tough and dangerous profession is to offer a compensation package that is comparable to other law enforcement opportunities that exist in NH or close-by in Massachusetts.  Jeff Padellaro, along with your negotiating team made up of veteran COs, will continue to educate the state and the public regarding the need to properly fund this department and support the men and women who make it work.

Critically Low Staffing Levels Create Safety Crisis in NH State Prisons

Concord, NH (June 29, 2017) – Teamsters Local 633 today urged people across New Hampshire to get behind correctional officers who are warning of a major safety crisis in the NH state prison system…. see full article on Concord Patch. https://patch.com/new-hampshire/concord-nh/critically-low-staffing-levels-create-safety-crisis-nh-state-prisons

FORCED OVERTIME EXHAUSTS PRISON OFFICERS,COSTS STATE MILLIONS

Overtime Exhaustion

For more than a decade, New Hampshire prisons have been under enormous pressure.  The prison population has gone up as staff numbers have gone down.  Aside from the inmates, few feel the consequences as acutely as the state’s correctional officers.

Corrections Sergeant Justin Jardine represents prison officers with the State Employees’ union. “I’m working approximately 3 double shifts a week, so 64 hours a week,”says Jardine.  Younger officers, Jardine says, work 4 or 5 double shifts — around 80 hours a week.  

The overtime is forced. That means if officers refuse to work, they’ll be disciplined — whatever the circumstances. And although you can volunteer to work overtime shifts that fit your schedule, officers often don’t find out they can’t go home until they get to work.  

The money is good – overtime earns time and a half.  A sergeant like Jardine can walk home with almost $70,000 a year.  But, Jardine says, “no matter how money hungry you are, no one wants to do that for years on end. And it’s been years now.”

Prison Guard Shortage

In 2004, a prison staffing analysis found the Concord prison for men needs 371 officers to operate normally; 277 for critical operations. Today, they are down to 198. Initially, positions were left vacant due to budget cuts across the department. Now, says warden Richard Gerry, the problem is finding qualified recruits.

The overtime is forced. That means if officers refuse to work, they’ll be disciplined — whatever the circumstances.

“We get a lot of applications,” Gerry says, “but then putting them through the different steps in our hiring process — a lot don’t show up, or they don’t pass the hiring phasing.”

There may be a snowball effect, too. The worse the working conditions, the harder it is to convince new recruits to sign on.  Commissioner Bill Wrenn says the problem is about to get worse.

“Employees’ average age is increasing,” he says, and with aging state employees comes retirement. “They have the ability to retire after 20 years at age 45.”

A 2012 state audit warned the more burned out the officers are, the more likely they are to take their benefits and retire. In fact, the department has lost many more officers than they’ve hired for five years running.

Overtime Costs

Since 2010, paying overtime has cost the state $3.5 million dollars more than it would have spent paying full time employees.

Governor Maggie Hassan says she and Commissioner Wrenn are trying to fix things. “We have redesigned the process,” she says, “moving the application process online,” and streamlining the testing process.  

The DOC still has only one employee responsible for recruitment and hiring. But now, 27 staff volunteers are going to job fairs, and even making follow up calls to applicants who fail to show up on test days.

But there may be a bigger problem for the Department of Corrections: New Hampshire’s economy is actually doing well.

Salary Competition

A.T. Wall, the president of the Association of State Correctional Administrators, says prison jobs are hard, dangerous, and require nights and weekends. He’s not surprised people opt for other jobs in a place like New Hampshire, where unemployment is low, “and where correctional officer salary and benefits lag behind what someone could make in another position.”

Right now, correctional officer salaries start at $33,600, which is $10,000 less than salaries at local police departments. However, policy makers aren’t talking about immediately boosting salaries. Governor Hassan says she wants to test the new online application process, first.

Inmate Outcomes Suffer

In the meantime, things at the Concord state prison for men do not look good.  Inmate Eric Grant has been at the prison for 24 years, on a second degree murder charge.  He says he’s found officers sleeping when they should be watching security cameras. “It happens,” says Grant. “I’m not gonna say all the time, but, his job is to monitor the unit, so in front of him there could be an assault going on and he wouldn’t see it.”

Grant says staff cutbacks have consequences. As staffing levels have dropped, inmate assaults have risen 30 percent during the last decade. Recidivism rates are up 60 percent.

Of course, there’s more to those numbers than just staffing. Prisons are overcrowded; there are growing racial tensions and increased drug use behind prison bars.   At the same time, treatment programs, educational classes, work programs — even visiting hours and sports — have been all been cut back.

As Grant sees it “everything’s related to everything,” when it comes to inmate outcomes.  

With 55 officers becoming eligible for retirement this year, this staffing shortage may get worse before it gets better.

UPS Rising

UPS Rising represents more than 250,000 Teamsters throughout the United States who work at UPS and UPS Freight. As UPS is the single largest employer of our union, our strength at UPS is the strength of the entire Teamsters union. We are RISING up to ensure that management abides by the UPS National Master Agreement (the largest collective bargaining agreement in North America) and the UPS Freight National Master Agreement. We are RISING as UPS package car drivers, air drivers, feeder drivers, part-time loaders, unloaders, sorters, clerks, freight drivers and dockworkers – for a strong contact in 2018!

Follow the latest at https://www.facebook.com/TeamUPSrising/

Thousands of New Hampshire Workers Launch New Fight to Stop Harmful Right to Work Legislation

 

Thousands of New Hampshire Workers Launch New Fight to Stop Harmful Right to Work Legislation

Workers across New Hampshire to contact legislators in effort to prevent Right to Work bill that would drive down wages, weaken the middle class and threaten economic growth

Concord, NH (February 7, 2017) Thousands of workers with Teamsters Union Local 633 today launched a new campaign to block harmful Right to Work legislation that could drive down wages and hurt New Hampshire’s economy.

Workers with Teamsters Local 633 are encouraging union members and voters across New Hampshire to call and write their legislators to voice their opposition to Right to Work bills in advance of a key hearing on Wednesday, February 8th

If passed, the New Hampshire Right to Work law could make it easier for businesses to pay lower wages, cut health and retirement benefits, reduce worker protections, and shift jobs out of state or overseas. The state senate recently passed the Right to Work bill, and legislation is now under consideration in the house. 

 This Right to Work law will hurt middle class families and do nothing to spur economic growthin our state,” said Dennis Caza, President of Teamsters Union Local 633. “Given the challenges resulting from stagnating wages and rising income inequality, why make it easier for companies to drive down pay even when corporate profits rise? We hope workers in every industry across the state will contact their legislators and let them know that Right to Work is bad for New Hampshire and has no place here.”

New Hampshire has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, and currently there are more than 20,000 open job positions across the state. If passed, the Right to Work law will provide no incentives to keep businesses in state. At the same time, it could make it more difficult for New Hampshire to address its single biggest economic challenge: attracting enough workers to fill critical job openings. This is because Right to Work laws often result in lower wages and weaker job protections – two elements that make it hard to attract workers. 

It’s no secret that employers identify the inability to fill crucial job openings – not Right to Work – as a key barrier to increased economic growth in New Hampshire,” said JeffrePadellaroSecretary-Treasurer and Principal Officer of Teamsters Local 633. “New Hampshire is on the right track with a growing innovation economy and the lowest unemployment rate in the country. We should focus on keeping companies in our state, instead of putting these gains at risk for a Right to Work law that has a poor track record of success in other states where similar legislation has passed.

Twenty-seven states currently have enacted Right to Work laws, including many states with higher unemployment rates and weaker economic growth. Nine out of 10 states with the highest poverty rates are those with Right to Work laws, while workers in Right to Work states earn on average about 25 percent less in pay and benefits that states without these laws.

Right now, union members in New Hampshire contribute financially and share the costs of union representation. If Right to Work is passed, it would interfere with this practice and enable union workers to benefit from hard-fought negotiations – receiving all the financial benefits – without contributing their fair share. It would also severely impact a union’s ability to advocate for its members, particularly on key issues of wages, benefits and workplace protections. 

“Right to Work laws use the false promise of economic growth to weaken organized labor and cut wages to hurt the middle class,” said Sean O’Brien, Secretary-Treasurer and Principal Executive Officer of Teamsters Joint Council 10, which represents 22 Teamsters unions in New England. “New England states have consistently rejected Right to Work legislation because workers and employers understand that these laws are ill conceived and unnecessary, and that they weakenrather than strengthen, state economies.” 

Teamsters Local 633 represents more than 4,700 New Hampshire workers in a variety of fields, including thousands of men and women who serve the public each day. This includes UPS, public works employees, bus drivers, police, power plant and warehouse workers, airport maintenance, school principals, pipeline workers, race track employees and Anheuser-Busch workers. For more information, please visit www. http://teamsters633.com/

 

CHESHIRE COUNTY CORRECTIONS OFFICERS OVERWHELMINGLY VOTE FOR TEAMSTERS

Cheshire County Corrections Officers held a vote on June, 22, 2016, to determine whether or not they would vote the Teamsters Local 633 as their exclusive representative. The vote was scheduled by the NH Public Employees Labor Relations Board. Joint Council 10 Organizer Roger Travers organized the group under the direction of Secretary Treasurer David W. Laughton. The Cheshire County Corrections Officers voted overwhelmingly to join the Teamsters. Principal Officer Laughton was extremely pleased to welcome this professional group of law enforcement officers to the Teamster family. Laughton stated, “These men and women chose a difficult vocation and deserve the respect and support of the County which we will ensure through collective bargaining.”

Organizer Roger Travers spent many days outside the corrections facility speaking with and addressing the needs and concerns of the proposed bargaining unit members. The proposed group was subjected to a “Mandatory Collective Bargaining Informational Meeting” where the County’s legal counsel discussed the pitfalls of joining a Union. At the direction of David Laughton, the Teamsters held a voluntary informational meeting at a local hotel conference room to discuss any concerns the proposed members may have had after listening to a one-sided presentation. The meeting was hosted by Organizer Roger Travers, Business Agent Jeffrey Padellaro and Attorney William Cahill. A dozen or so correctional officers stopped in during the day to discuss issues they may have had.

Dave Laughton stated, “Local 633 is uniquely positioned to represent law enforcement officers with our staff consisting of Business Agents who have been representing police departments and correctional officers for decades along with legal counsel who has worked as a state correctional officer and police officer. We look forward to representing our brothers and sisters working at the Cheshire County Correctional facility.”