On January 1, 2014, I was elected President of Teamsters Local 284. I consider it a great honor to serve the working men and women in this new capacity. Prior to becoming President of Local 284, I served as Secretary-Treasurer for 9 years. Before that I was the Recording-Secretary for 6 years. I also served as Business Representative for 3 years and a Steward for 9 years. During my years in Union leadership, I represented employees in numerous contract negotiations, arbitration hearings, grievance hearings, investigatory meetings and labor-management meetings across a wide spectrum of industries and occupations, including representing the Flight Attendants of NetJets.
As all of you know, we have entered a new era of labor relations at NetJets. We need a good contract and aggressive contract enforcement efforts to protect Flight Attendants from the backward movement at the Company. At the bargaining table, our hard won gains are under assault as management seeks to replace a portion of our wage increases with a profit sharing scheme and seize control of our insurance and retirement benefits. Now more than ever, we need a strong Union to protect our rights and to advance our interests. Contrary to management propaganda at NetJets, in workplaces across America, on the internet and over the airwaves, strong unions provide employees with the best chance of success in the 21st century economy. That’s why I have dedicated my life to the labor movement and Local 284.
As President of Local 284, I am part of a strong team of union leaders who are committed to serving the membership’s needs. Secretary-Treasurer Don Givens, Vice President Dan Kirk and Recording Secretary Don Mann bring decades of experienced leadership and sound judgment to Local 284. They work hard every day defending members’ rights and fighting for necessary contract improvements. The officers of the Union are supported by Local 284 Trustees Carl Rollins, Tom Becker and Gary Schoenian. Our Trustees provide a valuable service to Local 284 and have been representing members at their own workplaces for many years with skill and dedication. Finally, your elected Flight Attendant Executive Council (Michael Zois, JoDelle Burwell, Jill Mawdsley and Darcey Jameson), your Flight Attendant Negotiating Committee (Shannon Saxe, Michelle Dufield, Michelle Lueck, Andrew Collis, Michael Zois, JoDelle Burwell), as well as numerous other Flight Attendant volunteers and committee members work around the clock in the service of their fellow Flight Attendants. Their jobs never truly end and I know that all of you appreciate their efforts as much as I do. It is a privilege to be associated with such a fine group of dedicated men and women. But you are also a critical part of the team.
There is an old labor saying: “A union is only as strong as its membership.” I believe that one hundred percent. When union members pull together to fight for the greater good of all, we are stronger as a group and as individuals. As union members, we not only look out for ourselves and our own well-being, we stand up for our co-workers and their family members, too. We also care deeply that employees who don’t have a union are far too often denied even a living wage or are under constant threat of losing the wages and benefits they do have while the richest 1% of Americans have taken a larger share of national income for themselves than at any time since the 1920s. As Local 284 members, we are committed to bringing the benefits of unions to all employees in every industry and occupation because we recognize that unions are the only institution in American society dedicated exclusively to improving the wages, benefits and working conditions of all working people.
As 2014 begins, Local 284 and your Union leadership are there for you and your families whenever you need us, but we need your help. Get involved in your Union. Review your contract and know it well. Bring contract violations to the attention of your FAEC. Stick up for your fellow Flight Attendants. When the Union calls upon you, volunteer your time for committees and other Union work. You can count on Local 284 and we know we can count on you.
I wish you and your family and friends a Happy New Year. If you have questions or need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact Local 284 or your FAEC.
President, Teamsters Local 284