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The National President's Message

 

By Gerard A. Jones

National President

 

 

 

 

 

Greetings NOITU family. In this edition of the NOITU reporter, I would like to discuss a recent Supreme Court decision that affects public sector labor unions, but that could soon affect private sector unions such as us as well. Earlier this summer, the Court decided the case entitled Janus v. AFCSME. Even though it does not immediately affect NOITU, being that we are a private sector labor union, I must bring to our members’ attention this recent case. It now bans public sector labor unions from collecting agency fees from non-union members when they do not want to join the union. This is important because it serves as this administration’s first successful attempt at dismantling unions as we know them. Some of you may have read articles that state that many public unions across the country have not yet experienced sharp declines in membership following this legislation. However, with our current president and his administration we can be sure to expect more conservative leaning legislation to come that is anti-union across the board, in both public and the private sector, especially after the Supreme Court’s decision in this case.

 

Most Republican rhetoric tends to be against labor unions and more in favor of Right-to-Work legislation. I have mentioned, in the past, that Right-to-Work laws are an attempt by those who support them to eliminate the power of unions by not requiring union membership as a condition of employment of a company in a Right-to-Work state. When this happens, union membership declines and the union itself, suffers because it no longer has the financial support necessary to effectively accomplish its goals. The Court’s decision in Janus, is yet a further attempt to decrease the effectiveness of unions. In striking down agency fees in public sector unions, the Court is attacking unions financially in an attempt to decrease their influence. As someone who has been part of the labor movement for over 42 years, this trend against unions is alarming because many of the job protections and benefits that United States employees currently enjoy are the result of the efforts of the labor movement. Even more alarming is the fact that this administration is currently looking to add yet another conservative Supreme Court Justice to the bench. If such an appointment happens, you can expect similar decisions designed to eliminate unions.

 

As you know, our motto is “The good and welfare of our membership is the only reason for our existence”. The fact is that in states with Right-to Work laws, employees receive lower wages and fewer benefits than union organized work sites and workers in other states. Job security is lessened severely, employers are much less likely to be on negotiating terms with their employees and it just ultimately is not an ideal situation. For people who are seeking financial stability, career progress over time, and their voice to be heard, Right-to-Work laws do not provide such a foundation and ultimately, could result in unions ceasing to exist altogether, which simply cannot happen in American society. It is imperative that NOITU members and all Americans alike understand the great value of union membership.

 

Please do not be deceived by much of the conservative-leaning narratives that are typically against Union activity. The rhetoric that unions are collecting dues unfairly from people is simply not true, especially at NOITU. These dues in most cases later become resources used by representatives to help protect employees who are being mistreated or treated unfairly by their employers. The process becomes expensive, especially when an issue requires arbitration. Attorneys, arbitrators, court reporters and everything in between, all have to be paid in fighting for your rights and it is only through dues and agency fees is that able to be accomplished. As you will see in this edition of the Reporter, three of your fellow union members understand the importance of paying dues, as we were able to successfully gain their reinstatement, with legal representation, when their employers unjustly terminated their employment. 

 

To end on a much brighter note, while still providing another benefit of NOITU membership, I want to discuss our annual college scholarship awards that occurred this past July. It brings me great joy in stating that the scholarship awards event was a successful evening and brings me even greater pride in adding an additional scholarship to our traditional scholarship program this year. For the past few decades, NOITU has held our annual scholarship event which involves rewarding recipients with a one-time college scholarship based on their senior year success in high school. This year we were able to award 10 scholarships to promising young college bound students. However, a new 4-year scholarship was introduced on the condition that the student is able to maintain a 3.2 cumulative GPA or better. This addition to the scholarship program is intended to be continued each year and likely to be expanded as time goes on, so long as our resources permit such a prestigious award to continue. At this time, I would like to say a special congratulations to all the award winners and especially to the highest achieving student applicant and the winner of the inaugural 4-year NOITU Scholarship, Mr. Matheus M. Pareja Flores. NOITU believes in preparing and helping the brightest young scholars of NOITU for the next stage in their academic career. This gesture is one that is meant to show our most sincere appreciation to our members and their families by rewarding their children at the end of their high school career.

 

                On behalf of myself, and the rest of the Executive Board of the NOITU Organization, we would like to thank all of our members for your continued belief in us and all that we do to protect and improve the livelihood of you and your family. Have a healthy, safe and happy holiday season!

 

 

 



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