October 2015

Chattanooga Members Nominate New Leaders!

The main order of business at the October chapter meeting of the Chattanooga city government chapter was to nominate a slate of shop stewards and chapter officers to represent the membership beginning in January, 2016.

Nominations included Robert Ledford for chief steward and Nancy Nason for recording secretary.

Because there were two nominees for deputy chief steward – Alonzo Strickland and Terry Davis – an election will be held for this office.

In the shop steward positions, the members nominated were:

Police Civilians: Susan Contreras
City Hall: Charise Hughey
Public Works/City Wide Services: Alonzo Strickland (DCS nominee) and Stephen West
Public Works/Moccasin Bend Plant: Jay Wilson, Terry Davis (DCS nominee), Gennifer Coffey
Public Works/Parks: Todd Weller
YFD/Head Start: Cyndy Workman, Cantus Griffith, Lanita Montgomery
YFD/Recreation: Sharron Pryor
Public Library: Robert Hart

Elections will be held on Thursday, November 26 at the union hall. The positions are two-year terms.

For more information, contact your shop steward or your union representative.

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The Effort to Gut Metro Employee Benefits Fails!

Close to 200 Metro employees and SEIU members packed the Howard School Building to hear Pew's proposal for benefit changes for city employees.

Close to 200 Metro employees and SEIU members packed the Howard School Building to hear Pew’s proposal for benefit changes for city employees.

After a nearly two-year struggle, we are happy to report that the Metro Employee Benefit Board has rejected any cuts to the pension or retiree health benefits for Metro employees!

At their meeting on Oct. 6, the Benefit Board weighed the proposal from Mayor Dean’s Study and Formulating Committee as well as the input from SEIU and decided that it was unfair for firefighters and police to be allowed to keep their medical coverage upon reaching Medicare eligibility while the rest of the city’s employees would be cut off from health insurance when they retired. The Benefit Board voted against the Study Committee’s recommendation, despite a major P.R. push by the Mayor and his allies to convince the public of a “crisis” in unfunded liability for employee benefits which SEIU debunked.

Unless the new mayor or Metro Council decides to revisit this issue, major changes to employee benefits are now effectively dead. You’ll remember that SEIU was able to get any cuts to the employee pension stopped over the summer by an aggressive campaign against the Pew group and the Dean Administration. That victory was only possible because our members turned out and they were vocal about protecting the benefits they earned.

Meanwhile, the Benefit Board did vote in favor of a new lump-sum payout option that the union supports. There are pros and cons to this new option, but the important thing is that the final decision about whether to use it is up to the employee and it is not mandatory. We urge city employees to get more information about this benefit as details are rolled out – assuming it gets approved by the Metro Council.

Thank you to our members who turned out to meetings and talked to their elected officials about these issues and helped secure a major victory. Please tell your non-union co-workers that the reason their benefits are secure is because your Union fought hard to protect them!

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