June 3, 2014
Greetings Brothers and Sisters of the Alaska Region,
Hello to all across our great state of Alaska, here we are in the month of June and most of our members are hard at work and looking forward to a very busy and productive summer with our employers form the Aleutian Islands to the first city of Ketchikan. As we move forward in this very busy season we want to remind you all that safety first is always on the front burner at any of our work places, may it be on the docks of Valdez to the State ferries that move our precious cargo of Alaskans going from point A to point B or to our newest group at Delta Western in Dutch Harbor who have just joined the ranks and file of the IBU in our region.
This has been a very busy winter and spring time in our offices here in Alaska. Our patrolman Pete Lapinski has been very busy involved in contract negotiations with four of our contracts. Our Brothers and Sisters along the west coast to the port of Valdez have agreed to an agreement with Crowley Maritime to extend their contract and it is out to a vote of the membership.
Our members with the Gateway Borough of Ketchikan have signed a new contract that gives them a wage increase with no take-aways.
Pete is working right now with the City of Unalaska negotiating a new contract. Alaska Nautical is up next for negotiations.
Our Brothers with our longshore division in Valdez are busy at work and are moving forward like a fine tuned machine.
I just attended our national executive council meeting in Seattle May 19th & 20th where we discussed, planned and executed the actions of our union with the direction of all the regional directors, national president and national secretary-treasurer. Our agenda was full with almost every region having open contracts to negotiate. Many of the employers are not wanting to give freely to employees cost of living and medical increases.
We are in a time, Brothers and Sisters, where we the union’s in this country have to take a stand to continue to receive respect and acknowledgement that our members are the ones who continue to be the back bone of the industries that run this great country. Please keep in mind when you question what does my union do for me, that if it wasn’t for this union you would not have the job and benefits that you do today so thank the IBU for all they do. Together we will make a difference in our work places wherever you find the logo of the IBU worn proudly. Together we will stand strong and show our Solidarity.
Here in Alaska we just held our Executive board meetings May 27th – 29th with a very full agenda, which focused around the open contracts that are waiting to be negotiated. Our region is in very good shape and our finances are strong with our members with the seven contracts we represent. AMHS members are slowly being put back into the work force after being in reduction in force for over 18 months.
This is a time of change for most of us here in the Alaska region with more groups wanting to become union members throughout the state. As we move forward into the next three years please keep in mind that this is an election year for every position in our National office’s and every board seat is up for election in our Alaska region. I will not be running again as Regional Director of Alaska, after being a strong union brother for the past 35 years it’s time to move on and enjoy my twilight years. So I ask each and every member who is a full book member in good standing for the past 2 years to step up and take the challenge of being more involved in your union and show each other how strong the Alaska region can be. If you’re going to run for office of any kind this is the perfect time to let it be known and start to make your move to get the backing from your Brothers & Sisters to nominate you. If you have any questions please feel free to contact either myself, Pete or Karena.
We have been in a major battle with the State of Alaska, Department of Administration, who handles the Alaska Marine Highway system for our unlicensed workers. These negotiations began on December 17th and will continue on June 10th & 11th . From the start the state has not been willing to bargain in good faith. They have gone out of their way at each session to want to take away many of our contract rules and create a two tier pay system for Alaskans who will be hired after July 1st . Beginning in mid-February, the Commissioner of Administration decided they would introduce Senate Bill 182 to try and negotiate taking away COLD through legislation. We all stood strong and made our voices heard loud and clear that by delaying SB 182 before it could go anywhere during the first part of this legislative session. This was a very time consuming effort by all that were involved and we thank each and everyone who were a part of this historic effort. This legislative session continues on next year with all the current unsigned bills, including SB 182, so please be prepared to take a stand against this again and show that we are Alaska Strong.
Our national president Alan Cote has been to Alaska twice for AMHS negotiations and will be joining our team again very soon. We are at a point where we have TA’d 97% of the contract with 3 issues still standing in the way of getting the deal signed, we will continue to negotiate in good faith and move forward to getting the best deal without any major take-aways.
We have counted the strike authorization ballots, which came back with a 99% yes vote. You have spoken loud and clear with your approval to allow our negotiation team the tool to use if push comes to shove to use the power of a strike to get what needs to be accomplished on behalf of our membership.
We would also like to bring to your attention that we are creating a new information data base with your current information so we can generate group e-mails more efficiently. If you are not receiving the weekly crew list for the AMHS employees, please take the time and go to our web site www.ibupak.org and subscribe to the e-mail list.
In closing we would like to thank each and every member in the Alaska Region in advance for keeping your work places safe. Please show your union pride by doing the best job you can do and to be proud of at the end of the day of your efforts.
Yours in Solidarity, Ricky Deising
Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific Alaska Region