Importance of Waiting and Trust

Good morning Brothers and Sisters,

I wanted to take a minute to explain the importance of waiting, taking our time and not rushing the signing of a CBA that was set by other unions in what has always been known as patterned bargaining. Our General Chairman, Ricardo Sanchez, has said it at every monthly union meeting that patterned agreements do not work for us because we have a skillset, and it is also being said by IBEW Brothers and Sisters at Metro North who also have not signed yet. Each month, and today will be no different, an update will be given at the monthly union meeting, so come down today and hear what is said so that you know. Do not listen to the rumors, we are not holding anyone up from getting back pay, we will not and cannot do less than the 2.5, 2.75% everyone else got, however, we can do better due to the skillset we have. As electricians our jobs change often due to technology, that is a fact, and it is those changes that shows our skill and knowledge and that is worth something.

To prove that taking it slow and waiting is a good thing, many of you may have heard that 2 weeks ago an agreement between the IBEW Local 589 and Alstom for the technicians at JFK was reached. Last week it was passed by the members 74 to 1, with 1 abstaining. Those talks started back in February of 2021, and it started with the company offering not more than 1.5% a year for 4 years, loss of work rules and more. Following the leadership of Ricardo, we stood our ground and after 2 years a deal was reached that gave the employees 17% over 5 years, more floater days, sick days, higher rates for training, new classifications and more.  It was the leadership, knowledge and experience of our General Chairman that allowed for this to happen along with the support from the technicians at the site.

At the current time, the LIRR, JFK Supervisors, Newark Technicians and Newark Foreman contracts are all expired, and all are following the same, take our time approach in an effort to bring the members the best contract possible. I ask you all to be patient, trust in your leadership, do not listen to rumors and I encourage you all to come to the monthly meetings to hear it firsthand from myself and Ricardo, so you know the truth for yourself. If we stick together, we will get what we deserve as electricians on this electric railroad and at both Alstom sites.

In solidarity,
Steven Schmitt
President, IBEW L.U. 589