After a contentious week of sharp disagreements publicly aired, Thursday marked a day of unity and recommitment to purpose for the Guild.
First, the Guild is pleased to announce that Ken Crowe and Christine Wright have agreed to remain on the pension board as trustees, and they concur the membership must vote before a merger of the fund can occur. They did so after a legal opinion from Guild International attorney Barbara Camens indicated the contract required such a membership vote.
You can read her opinion here.
A vote cannot be scheduled, however, until the Company puts its proposal in writing. It has not yet done so, and the union sent Company leaders a letter after its Executive Board meeting Thursday urging them to do so.
At the Executive Board meeting, the officers unanimously approved a statement of principles as suggested by International Representative Jim Schaufenbil. The principles were moved by Chief Steward Ray Pitlyk and seconded by President Tim O’Brien (who handed the chair to First Vice President Lindsay LaFountain in order to do so).
The principles are:
- Agreement of all board members that a ratification vote is legally required to merge the pension plan.
- The union and trustees agree to negotiate with the company to protect pension benefits as long as possible. That agreement needs to be in writing. We retain the right to negotiate pension benefit changes in the future through collective bargaining.
- That we would work together in settling our differences.
- The Executive Committee and the Guild pension trustees all acknowledge they are ultimately accountable to the membership.
- Executive Committee votes should be taken in a forum where all members have adequate notice and opportunity to present debate on the issues.
- The Executive Committee reaffirms its goal to get a reasonable, honorable contract with the Company.