By Vic Baffoni
Vice President, Bus

Congratulations to Local 1900 Chairperson Albert Collie and President Juan Ucanan at Parsec in Florida on their success in winning four of five grievances.

Kudos also go to Local 172 Chairperson Theresa Costantini and Trustee Kathleen Sitongia at Delco Transportation in Pennsylvania. They successfully resolved contract grievances resulting in reinstatement of a member and assurances for others of pay for lost work.

A special commendation goes to the New Jersey State Legislative Board and State Legislative Director Dan O’Connell for their efforts in helping to gain passage of legislation — signed by Gov. Jon Corzine — providing up to six weeks of paid family leave. They worked with the New Jersey State AFL-CIO and many community organizations to secure the legislation after 13 years of previously unsuccessful efforts.

Because of continued strong employer opposition, a compromise was required to gain legislative passage of the new law. Thus, the worker requesting family leave first must use two weeks of vacation or sick leave. This benefit will be paid out of New Jersey’s Temporary Disability Income Fund, with employees paying $33 annually to ensure the coverage.

The New Jersey Legislative Board unsuccessfully sought to gain coverage for rail workers in the state, but because they do not pay into the disability income fund, they were not included in coverage. The new benefit will commence July 1, 2009.

Our Organizing Department is in contact with bus operators and mechanics on numerous properties around the nation who have shown interest in representation by the UTU. If you know of unorganized workers seeking representation, please let me know, or call our Organizing Department at (216) 228-9400.