DISTRICT COUNCIL 53 EARNS
Painters District Council 53 was awarded the General President’s Award for Excellence in Organizing at the IUPAT 32nd General Convention held in Las Vegas earlier this year. The award is only given once every five years to the Council which has demonstrated groundbreaking approaches to organizing. DC 53’s Annual Coating & Corrosion Expo, which has been modeled by other councils, was noted. Another innovation is DC 53’s use of payroll with engineering reports to focus on bridge painting as an industry rather than one contractor.
We the members of District Council 53 believe that organization and collective action is necessary to foster and adopt ways and means for continuous improvement of the working and living standards of all workers.
Thirty years ago construction workers in our country were the best paid and best treated workers in the world. Today we are not. Unfair contractors, wealthy real estate developers, and big business have conspired to undermine the proper place of hard working people like yourself in today’s economy. The present contracting practices in our industry have stripped all workers of wage increases that help them keep pace with the cost of living. Many have been denied wage increases while others have suffered pain staking cuts. Health care is no longer considered a necessity, not to mention, retirement pensions. All these benefits were once considered essential to the total well being of a worker and his family, but now are considered too expensive for most employers to pay in order to continue to stay competitive within today’s market place.
These present contracting practices have affected union and non-union workers alike. Workers are afraid to ask for a raise or in many cases have been willing to accept what an employer will pay or be faced with being replaced by another that is hungry enough to sacrifice everything in order to get or keep a job. Because of these practices, union market share and bargaining strength has greatly decreased. If we continue our present plight, the construction industry will have nothing to offer an individual that would have ordinarily considered entering the trades as an honorable means by which to provide for one’s self and family. Without legitimate changes real soon the standards the union fought so hard to establish will be gone forever.
Regardless of what you may think of the union you cannot deny that it is the union that established the very standards that ensure life and limb. The union fought to protect workers’ rights and establish safe working conditions. The union has constantly worked to improve workers’ wages and benefits, to maintain a respectable standard of living and to provide for the total well being of a worker and his family.
District Council 53 members are committed to uniting into one labor organization for all workers, by organizing the unorganized, lending assistance and aid to workers who are less fortunate than ourselves, to educate and train workers that may not possess the necessary knowledge or skills to command respectable wages and benefits, and to help establish safe and reasonable conditions of employment.
Our organizing staff is committed to righting many of the injustices found in the workplace today, particularly in the construction industry. Our training staff can also help you further develop your knowledge and refine your skills to make you a more valuable employee capable of commanding better wages, benefits and working conditions. If you have a problem with an employer, or you find you’re not getting your fair share, or would like to better yourself through our education and training programs contact us and we will help in any way that we can.
Determine today that you would like to have a part in the reshaping of your future and to reclaim respect, dignity and justice that are rightfully yours, by joining with us in our pursuit of our fair share.
Organizing Your Right
DO YOU KNOW
THE EMPLOYER CANNOT:
- attend any union meeting, park across the street from the hall or engage in union activity which would indicate that employees are being kept under surveillance to determine who is and is not participating in the union program
- tell employees that the company will fire or punish them if they engage in union activity
- layoff, discharge, discipline any employee for union activity
- grant employees wage increases, special concessions or benefits in order to keep the union out
- bar employee-union representatives from soliciting employees’ memberships on or off the company property during non-working hours
- ask employees about union matters, meetings, etc. (some employees may, of their own accord, walk up and tell of such matters. it is not an affair labor practice to listen, but to ask questions to obtain additional information is illegal.)
- ask employees what they think about the union or a union representative once the employee refuses to discuss it;
- ask employees how they intend to vote
- threaten employees with reprisal for participating in union activities. for example, threaten to move the plant or close the business, curtail operations or reduce employees’ benefits
- promise benefits to employees if they reject the union
- give financial support or other assistance to a union
- announce that the company will not deal with the union
- threaten to close, in fact close, or move plant in order to avoid dealing with a union
- ask employees whether or not they belong to a union, or have signed up for union representation
- ask an employee, during the hiring interview, about his affiliation with a labor organization or how he feels about unions
- make anti-union statements or act in a way that might show preference for a non-union man
- make distinctions between union and non-union employees when assigning overtime work or desirable work
- purposely team up non-union men and keep them apart from those supporting the union
- transfer workers on the basis of union affiliations or activities
- choose employees to be laid off in order to weaken the union’s strength or discourage membership in the union
- discriminate against union people when disciplining employees
- by nature of work assignments, create conditions intended to get rid of an employee because of his union activity
- fail to grant a scheduled benefit or wage increase because of union activity
- deviate from company policy for the purpose of getting rid of a union supporter
- take action that adversely affects an employee’s job or pay rate because of union activity
- threaten workers or coerce them in an attempt to influence their vote
- threaten a union member through a third party
- promise employees a reward or a future benefit if they decide “no union”
- tell employees overtime work (and premium pay) will be discontinued if the plant is unionized
- say unionization will force the company to lay off employees
- say unionization will do away with vacations or other benefits and privileges presently in effect
- promise employees promotions, raises or other benefits if they get out of the union or refrain from joining the union
- start a petition or circular against the union or encourage or take part in its circulation if started by employees
- urge employees to try to induce others to oppose the union or keep out of it
- visit the homes of employees to urge them to reject the union