Letter from the President
Greetings Brothers and Sisters of Local 2:
I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year! As I reflect on 2016, I’m excited about what’s ahead in 2017 and thought it would be a great idea to share my excitement with you.
OPEIU Local 2 turned a major corner last year by bringing on two young representatives with fire and vigor. We saw growth of membership by 10% to 7,250 members. We ended the year with a surplus budget of $250.000 in our general funds. We negotiated and ratified contracts that provided wage increases with excellent health, pension and job security benefits.
As we move into 2017, I envision greater achievements for our local. Let’s begin with a conversation about organizing. Organizing is one of my top priorities this year. With everything that is happening today in the work force and seeing what is coming down the pike it is more important than ever to organize the unorganized. And we sit ready to step up and do that for working people today. While at convention with our newly elected international president, Richard Lanigan, I was able to get a commitment from the international Union to pay for a full time Local 2 organizer for 18 months.
We are looking to expand in in fields we currently represent in health care like Kaiser, where we are seeking to organize pharmacists and looking at entirely new fields that we haven’t organized in the past. Also, in the area of public transportation, such as WMATA and MTA. Our goal is to organize a 15% increase in membership over the next 18 months. So, if you or anyone else you know is looking to organize please call our offices and we can set something up for those working individuals. Until our new organizer is hired, our interim organizer is Michael Spiller, who has a 25 year history of organizing at AFT.
Secondly, as some of you may know my passion and commitment is and has always been to provide the best services for our members and to ensure they receive fair wages, hours and working conditions. To this end, we are in the process of hiring for at least one additional staff representative; as we saw 3 of our long-time representatives retire in 2016. Meanwhile, we will continue developing and preparing strategies for bargaining under a new government with a weaker labor emphasis and potential cuts to the Affordable Healthcare Act. We must focus our resources on issues and concerns of the membership so we can remain connected and meet the growing needs of our members. As a result: I have charged our Social Justice Committee and our Political Education Committee with researching and identifying the best political actions and direction to take given our countries new leadership. I will also be charging the other committees to begin thinking outside of the box while developing some creative and innovative ways to connect and serve our members. You should look to hear something from our committee’s in the near future. Our committees are always looking for more volunteers and support. So, if you interested please contact our office or email the chairs for their next meeting dates and times.
In closing, “no man is an island in itself” which is why I am looking to expand our relationships with our central labor councils and to do so I have made sure that we put our maximum number of delegates on these boards. To further expand our relationships; we are taking a more active role in working with the state AFL-CIO to engage in and stay on top of the political developments for Maryland, DC and Virginia.
As a great man once said “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. I look forward to working together with you in 2017 and seeing you at the upcoming membership meeting on April 4th, 2017. In the interim, get involved and join a committee!
In solidarity, Happy New Year!