Business Manager’s Message
Valentino B. Ceria
We usher in the new year with optimism and renewed hope even as we still face the realities of the pandemic, political discord and some uncertainly in our lives. Things are looking brighter though with the vaccines in place, and of course, a new president to take the lead. Please do not let your guard down on the jobsites, in public and at home with your families. We ask that you continue to follow CDC and Prevention guidelines in terms of wearing a face covering, practicing good hand hygiene, keeping a minimum of 6 feet of social distance from others and avoiding large social gatherings.
On behalf of Local 675, I sent a letter to the State Department of Health for approval in moving our members up a tier to receive the COVID vaccine earlier, being that we are essential and on the front lines for public health and safety. We requested for a Category 1B status. Many of you may have already received calls for vaccinations.
Recently, the UA was invited to the White House to meet with the President and Vice President among other AFL-CIO and North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) leaders. Our General President Mark McManus and others expressed concerns regarding America’s energy future such as the canceled Keystone XL pipeline project, the future of other pipelines and current new nuclear facility reactors. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka believes if the President shuts down other pipelines he’ll pair it with job creation that will be greater than the number of jobs lost. The White House responded, “President Biden has proposed transformative investments in infrastructure that will not only create millions of good union jobs but also help tackle the climate crisis.”
On other matters in the Oval Office, President Biden announced his Executive Order rescinding the radical changes fostered by anti-union groups to our apprentice programs known as IRAPs (industry-recognized apprenticeship programs). This was a big win for all UA members coordinated by the UA last year protecting our apprenticeship programs.
Also heard in the Oval Office was discussions on the current relief package and a second recovery bill. More recently on March 11, President Joe Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that in part will provide desperately needed relief to working class families as well as state and local funding to jumpstart the economy.
The United Association General Convention held every five years is slated for August 22 through August 27, 2021 in San Diego, California. The UA is hopeful that the ongoing distribution of COVID-19 vaccines may make it possible to convene in person but the UA is concurrently preparing for possible virtual and semivirtual Convention formats. Also mentioned in this newsletter, in light of the continued COVID-19 pandemic, the UA encouraged local unions to conduct the Convention Delegates Election by mail ballot. Counting of the ballots will take place on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 by a third party, Shimotsu & Company, CPA’s, LLC. Results will be posted on our website. Again, if you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are at the same time diligently continuing our labormanagement negotiation meetings for a new collective-bargaining agreement by July 2021. Once finalized, the members will be notified of a ratification meeting which should be scheduled sometime in May or June of this year.
As a reminder for those interested in applying for the Local 675 Scholarship Program and the UA Scholarship Program, please check online at www.plumbershawaii.com for information on how to apply. Qualifications are listed on the site and also in this newsletter.
Not everyone may know, but March 11 was World Plumbing Day, a day to promote the role plumbing has in our daily lives and to bring awareness to the public about the importance of safe, clean, and functioning plumbing systems that we may take for granted. We recognize and acknowledge not only the plumbers who install the systems, but our plumbing inspectors, contractors that employ our members, their staff, and others who support us in the field. A Big Mahalo to all of the essential workers, our members for what you do to keep us safe!