Opening statement provided by Randy Lawson, President of IGUA Local 3 during their first day at the negotiating table:
As you know, negotiations began with Wackenhut on Monday, October 16, 2006. It took 1.5 days just to complete the ‘Ground Rules’ before actual negotiations began. A copy of our opening statement follows:
I would like to start my opening statement by defining who we are not; we are not the ATLC where we followed suit in negotiations for many years. We are not a part of the Steel Workers or protective force at ETTP who are in closure. We are however the International Guards Union of America Local No. 3. an independent local within the Oak Ridge valley for nearly sixty years.
We are unlike any other DOE site or Protective Force. We show a different side of pride and professionalism in protecting our national security. Our winning record against the DOE adversary teams speaks for itself.
We have been faced with constant challenges from DOE since the early eighties when the physical fitness requirements first started. Just under the 10CFR 1046 alone there are 42 essential functions we are required to meet and 332 medical conditions that can disqualify us from continuing to be a Security Police Officer. We are down to our last Security Officer positions and no longer have any other option but to meet the DOE physical standards to stay employed.
In August of last year DOE implemented the new 470 order that imposed some of the most stringent physical fitness requirements for a Security Police Officer to date. These new offensive standards for the future Security Police Officers to meet give them little hope of a future to meet the full potential of our current retirement plan.
This same order today is currently under revision by DOE to increase the standards of the Security Police Officer I. Weapons qualifications will increase to a minimum of 80%, with DOE knowing the impacts this will have on the senior Security Police Officers.
Our benefits and retirement are the most crucial assets we have today, yet we are threatened with having them reduced each time we come to the bargaining table. We are not machinist or laborers as listed in the beginning of this statement, when injured on or off the job and are placed on short or long term disability leave, a physician has to release us totally restriction free before we can once again attempt to meet the standards for a Security Police Officer before returning to work.
Our statement is simple: We have done all that was required and asked of us as a Security Police Officer by DOE and all contractors. The Protective Forces of the Oak Ridge valley are second to none when it comes to DOE rankings and ratings. We have played a major role in this contractor receiving record awards fees for the past few years.
Simply put, we expect both DOE and Wackenhut to show respect to our current benefits in these negotiations.
After the opening statements from both sides, we began negotiations by giving a counter offer to their initial non-economic language change proposal. The company was persistent in looking at what our issues were but was not interested in sharing any other issues of their own.
The negotiating committee called a recess and discussed our options at this point. It was decided that we should not present our full proposals to Wackenhut prior to the vote to be held this Friday. The reason for this decision was partly based on Wackenhut’s reluctance to pass any of their issues across the table for the union to consider.
Yesterday (Tuesday) at 1:30 pm, it was decided by the negotiating committee to temporarily end negotiations to await the results of the vote pertaining to the contract extension Friday, October 20, 2006.
Note: This update, as well as future updates, will be posted on our new web-site for this local. You can access this site on the internet at www.igualocal3.org . If you are not yet a member, you will need to register to view the forums on this web-site. To register, click on the ‘member’s only’ link at the top and then click ‘register’ and follow the directions.
President, IGUA Local 3
International Guards Union of America