"Vote Yes Campaign"
As one of the workers in Trus/Joist, you have the opportunity to join with your fellow workers to bargain for higher wages increased benefits, and better working conditions by forming a union. Your fellow workers have requested that the IAM assist you in organizing your workplace and forming a union to collectively bargain for a contract. You may have never been exposed to a union and wonder why you would want to join one.
For 130 years, the Machinists Union has fought for workers’ rights and benefits. Pensions, medical insurance, paid vacation, holidays, personal holidays, sick pay, shift differential, etc., are generally not only better in a union shop, but many of these benefits do not even exist without a union contract. Here are a few examples of real-world benefits of union membership.
• In general, union members earn wages that are 26 percent higher, on average, than non-union workers.
• 89 percent of union workers participate in a defined benefit program while 46 percent of nonunion workers participate in a defined benefit plan.
• Union members are more likely to have employer-provided health insurance benefits.
• Union members have greater access to apprenticeships and training opportunities.
While those points may seem well and good in general, you may be asking yourself why you would be interested in having a union at the Trus/Joist facility. Weyerhaeuser has been earning record profits, yet employee wage growth has been stagnant. Additionally, Weyerhaeuser is currently in contract negotiations with the IAM at 14 different facilities across the northwest, so this presents you with the opportunity to harness an even larger group of employees to bargain collectively. Unions have been growing at a pace not seen in decades and this is your chance to join with your fellow brothers and sisters to have your voices heard.
You have a dedicated core of your coworkers that are actively working to form a union, but you cannot leave your future in their hands alone. You need to act now and show that you support joining the union. To that end, this Friday, Aug 5th through Sunday, the 7th, there will be “Vote Yes” campaign session that will give you an opportunity to ask questions of your fellow workers, representatives from other union locals and the district. During this session you will be able to show your support and let your voice be heard in support of better wages and benefits. For those that are not able to attend the Vote Yes session, representatives will be reaching out to them in a door knocking campaign from Saturday through Monday.
We urge you to show up to the Vote Yes campaign on Friday, Aug 5th through Monday, the 8th, to show support for your fellow workers. The meeting is being held from 10am to 6pm Friday through Sunday, and 7am to 6pm on Monday at the Hampton Inn located at 3780 W. 11th Ave in Eugene.
Lets Clear The Air
INITIATION: None; The IAM waives initiation fees for all workers who join in a newly organized unit.
DUES: You will not pay dues until you vote to ratify your Collective Bargaining Agreement (Union Contract). Dues
are approximately 2.5 times your hourly rate. Example: If you receive an hourly rate of 25/hr, your Monthly dues rate would be $62 or $31 a paycheck.
STRIKES: There will be no strikes unless two-thirds of the membership vote to do so, by secret ballot. The choice is yours. Strikes are very rare and extremely rare and 98% of all contracts are negotiated without a strike. Contract Negotiations: Negotiations is a fairly simple process: your elected Committee calls all the shots at the table while the Chief Negotiator will help you get the best contract possible. Your specific issues will be bargained. The IAM does not dictate what should or should not be negotiated. You Decide!
"Why I'm Voting Yes"
An open letter from a Trus/Joist employee
I, and I’m sure many of you, have never been a union member. When I was approached by a coworker asking for my support, I knew more information was needed before deciding. I wanted to learn more so I attended a union meeting. My bare bones take away was, the Union would give workers a seat at the table during negotiations for better working conditions and benefits. Why wouldn’t a worker want those things? Still, I wanted more input. There’s always another side to a coin.
Shortly after that union meeting Mario joined our pre-shift meetings to offer his take on the Union. I was genuinely interested to hear what he had to say as I was still in the information gathering phase. Unfortunately the first two points he brought up were inaccurate, (“IAM is a for profit organization” and “signing a union card legally binds you”). A quick google search debunked both statements. Opening a conversation with incorrect information, whether intentional or not, did not build credibility for the points that followed. In fact when Mario said “We have successfully run this mill for years without the Union and are confident we can continue to do so”, all I heard was we have successfully taken advantage of our workers for years and are confident that without the union we can continue to do so.
Since those meetings management has been bombarding us with endless pieces of disparaging literature regarding the IAM and frankly it’s exhausting. Their actions beg the question, why is the company so adamantly against us voting in the union? Simple, it’s their responsibility to maximize profits while minimizing costs and Union representation for workers threatens that. The easiest way for companies to cut expenses is to keep payroll at a minimum. Typically labor (defined as wages, benefits, payroll and other related taxes) accounts for as much as 70% of total business costs. Sadly over the last several decades it has become customary for businesses to increase profits off the backs of their hourly workers. This is not unique to Weyerhaeuser. This is an epidemic and it needs to change. So what can we do? Well we can stay on the “train or get off it.” Personally, I want off.
Repeating the same actions over and over again expecting different results is the sheer definition of insanity. It has become apparent our company has no intentions of insuring we receive wages that keep up with cost of living expenses. Recently a long time employee worked out the average hourly pay raise between 2000 and 2022 to be 26.45 cents per year. That is 1.4% annually. Inflation during this time period has averaged 2.5% annually and that doesn’t include this year’s unprecedented inflation that currently sits at 10%. Conversely, Weyerhaeuser’s CEO pay from 2000 to 2020 has averaged an annual increase of 2.04%. This includes the years the CEO had no pay increase or took a reduction in pay. If our yearly increases were in step with theirs our current hourly rate would be $34.48 and I wouldn’t be writing this letter. Year after year after year Truss Joist workers have been falling further and further behind. It’s time for this “train” to change tracks.
I am aware the loss of Gain Shares is a huge concern for many. But as we came to realize last February when sizes were being taken for jackets that were intended to be given in lieu of Gain Shares, they are not guaranteed income. This event is directly related to the increase in Union talk around the plant and April’s wage increase announcement turned talk into action. It is curious how suddenly funds for Gain Shares were “found.” And more curious was Mario announcing he was working on a new pay structure which he assures us was in the works long before we began meeting with the Union. I can’t say for sure if this is true but given the memory of the not so distant meetings he had with us I am skeptical to say the least.
I’m not saying this is a terrible place to work. I’ve certainly worked for companies who treat their employees very poorly. Overall I feel the company treats us well but there is certainly room for improvement in several areas. I know we all enjoy the burger bashes and steaks occasionally provided by management, they are pretty cool. You know what would be cooler than that? Being able to afford to BBQ our own steaks for our families and friends and not have a 30 minute window to enjoy our meal. Unlike Gain Shares, pay increases are guaranteed income.
The ability to bargain for better pay and benefits are not the only reasons I am voting yes. But let’s be honest, those are two items we can all agree are very motivating. I believe becoming IAM members will give us the opportunity to change the current culture at our plant. It will force management to include us in the important conversations that form policy. Seniority as well as capability will determine who gets what job/ promotion, whatever the case may be. We will no longer be an at will employee. That’s a biggie for me! Nobody likes being at a job where they can be fired just because. So yes, I am voting YES. Obviously I would like all of you to vote yes as well, but mostly I hope you are all out there doing your own discovery so you can make the choice that’s best for you.
WOOD WORKERS Response to Trus/Joist Union Related FAQ's
Recently Weyerhaeuser Trus/Joist posted a "Union FAQ's" sheet. We would like to respond to their anti-worker rhetoric below:
Question: When is the vote for the Union?
Answer: Typically the National Labor Relations Board will schedule an election once the Company and Union agree on who should be included in the unit that will vote and agree upon the location of the actual election. This is called a stipulated election agreement. The Company has until today (6/29/22) to respond to the petition for election we filed. We are asking for an election to take place on the plant site but if the Eugene area covid-19 numbers are up the national labor relations board will mandate that the election take place via a mail in ballot. Meaning you will get to vote from home. Once again in either scenario this is a secret ballot and neither the company or the union will know who voted for or against unionizing.
As you know we have also filed for election at the Weyerhaeuser Distribution Center and because of covid-19 levels the NLRB will only do a mail in election. In this case the company is still demanding an in person election. This means that the Director of this region's labor board will have to issue an official decision which Weyerhaeuser will have to follow in the end. We believe this is a stall tactic by the company to give them more time to continue their captive audience meetings with you all where they continue to trash talk the union. We would be voting sooner if the company stopped this anti-union stall tactic but rest assured we will get you to an election.
Question: Can I vote if I am not onsite at the time of the vote?
Answer: If the election is on site you will have to come in to cast your ballot. Typically the NLRB agent overseeing the election will schedule vote times to accommodate all 3 shifts. If it is your day off the Company has to let you come in to vote. If the election is by mail you can vote from the comfort of your home and follow the instructions that will come with your ballot. You will mail your ballot back to the National Labor Relations Board.
Question: How does the counting for the vote work if we unionize?
Answer: The Company is correct but the Union is encouraging everyone to vote and have their voice heard.
Question: I am a newer team member and don't have a pension today. Will I get a pension if we unionize?
Answer: While we cannot make promises around what will or will not happen if the mill unionizes, we can also use benefits at our Union Weyerhaeuser mills to help inform the response. As of 4 years ago our newer team members went from a defined benefit retirement plan to a defined contribution retirement plan. So in addition to a 401k that the company matches up to 2.5% our newer team members also have an enhanced 401k that the company contributes 5% of the team members gross earnings into. Most of you have a copy of some of our contract so you can see for yourself that the Company is being deceptive with their answer.
Question: I was hired at a time when pensions were available and have a pension today with Weyerhaeuser. If we unionize and the good faith negotiation process results in a continued pension, will the new pension formula be applicable for my prior years of service?
Answer: For those of us with a Weyerhaeuser pension in the Union mills our pension is currently at $53 dollars per year of service. You all are in a different Weyerhaeuser pension program that has a benefit of $35 dollars per year of service. No matter what happens in good faith bargaining Weyerhaeuser can not take away the years you have already earned in your current pension! As a example only as we do not know what will happen in good faith bargaining lets say, as the company's answers suggest that you get moved into the Union pension program or lets say you stay in the one your already in what does that have to do with a "Transfer"? Their answer is a bunch of gobbley gook at best.
Question: Will gain share continue if we unionize?
Answer: The Company is correct, our Union mills don't have gainshare. Instead, we have substantially higher wages and benefits so we don't have to depend on a small check that may or may not happen. I don't know about you but it's kind of hard to pay your bills or make purchases on money that you only maybe will get every three month and only if market conditions are good. Let me ask you a question? How do you know that your gainshare amount is right? Is the Company sharing the financial data with you so you can see for yourself? Do you always get your gainshare? Didn't the Company take it away and buy you jackets that you never received once?
Question: Do I have to join the Union if we vote to unionize?
Answer: The Company is correct. If we bargain union security language into a contract everyone will be a member.
Question: Will a union prevent discipline from occurring?
Answer: Right now you are all at-will employees, meaning the Company can discipline or fire you for anything they want and you do not have any recourse. Under our Union contracts with Weyerhaeuser we have " Just Cause" language and progressive discipline meaning we can appeal any discipline or termination through our grievance and arbitration process and make the company demonstrate that the discipline had merit and wasn't just arbitrary and that the discipline fit the violation. We can also use those same processes to challenge and remedy contract violations if the company commits them. Let's say the Company puts up a bid for an Oiler in the maintenance department and we have a seniority job bid system in our Union contract but the Company ignores it and passes up the senior qualified candidate who bid on the job and instead the supervisor gives his son the job who didn't have as much seniority. We can use the grievance procedure to try and resolve that contract dispute and if we can't we can take it to legal binding arbitration where a person similar to a judge called an Arbitrator will render a decision based on the Union contract language that is legal and binding.
Question: How will unionizing impact growth & development opportunities?
Answer: We do believe seniority should count for something and have strong seniority language in our contract. Currently your managers pick and choose their favorites and promote their children over hard working employees. How is your current system fair to anybody?
Question: How many Weyerhaeuser facilities does the IAM represent?
Answer: We represent 17 different Weyerhaeuser operations between Oregon and Washington. In Oregon we have Oregon Trucking, Coos Bay Logging, Springfield Logging, Snow Peak Logging, TOPS Log Sort Yard, Santiam Sawmill, Cottage Grove Sawmill. In Washington we represent Raymond Sawmill, Longview Sawmill, Washington Trucking, Longview Log Export Yard, Olympia Export Yard, PeEl Logging, Vale Logging, Aberdeen Logging, Mima Nursery, Rochester Seed Plant. We also represent the Dierks Arkansas Sawmill.
Question: How does the IAM union make money?
Answer: We are a 501-C 5 which is a "Not For Profit" organization. As such we are required by law to submit how we spend every red cent of dues money to the Department of Labor and they post all that information online. They are called LM reports and you can google search IAM Dep of Labor LM reports and see our financials. Keep in mind our members decide how every penny is spent. Nothing is spent without members' approval. Our staff salaries are set by our members along with our dues rate. All of our money goes to servicing our members. Unlike Weyerhaeuser whose only purpose is to make money for their shareholders and pay their corporate officers millions of dollars in annual salaries. We are not a business otherwise the IRS wouldn't give us the Not For Profit 501-C 5 tax status. Please ask your boss to share his salary and Weyerhaeuser's financials with you? You know how to find ours now.
Question: Will overtime be limited if we join a union?
Answer: We do not have mandatory overtime in any of our union contracts with Weyerhaeuser. Our members do work a lot of overtime but that is all voluntary and when you make the type of wages our members make overtime becomes more attractive. In our opinion if the Company wants you to work OT they need to pay you good money to do it and not force you. You guys have single parents who finished their scheduled shift only to have your supervisors come up and tell them at the last minute they have to stay for 2-4 more hours. When these workers said they couldn't because they had to pick up their kids from daycare, your supervisors told them "The Company Doesn't Care About Your Family",and threatened to write them up if they left to get their kids. This is a true story. None of our Union mill workers have to deal with that nonsense and you shouldn't either!
Question: Will paid lunches continue if we unionize? Will wages increase if we unionize?
Answer: Not all of our Union Weyerhaeuser locations have paid lunches but some do depending on the job but this along with wage increases will all have to be bargained during contract negotiations.
In Closing: I think our union contracts speak for themselves. The reality is that nothing will change for you guys if you continue to hope that the Company and your supervisors are going to do anything for you. You can make just as much money and in some cases have better benefits working at fast food restaurants in the Eugene area. If you have looked at the Weyerhaeuser Job postings for their union facilities you should. They brag about all Union benefits and great union pay they offer. If they are advertising all that, why are they telling you that going union is bad for you?