This bulletin was sent out on Thursday, August 16, 2018. It came to our attention that a handful of members had not received it, so we are re-sending it with the hope that everyone will receive it. This bulletin is UNCHANGED from last week. We apologize to those of who are receiving it twice. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through the IT problems we are experiencing with email.
To: MITA OE 324 Contractors
From: Mike Nystrom, Executive Vice President/Secretary
RE: Stalemate Continues
Date: August 16, 2018
WHAT HAPPENED AND WHY THINGS ARE BOUNCING BACK AND FORTH
Late last week, MITA took a dramatic shift in strategy when it notified Operating Engineers, Local 324 (OE 324) that it had rescinded the Power of Attorney (POA) for all companies working under the recently expired MITA Utility Distribution and Road Agreements. This decision came after significant thought and discussion with the MITA Labor Relations Committee. The goal was that by making this decision, all fringe checks would be accepted, cashed and credited by the Fringe Funds, thus relieving the significant sense of concern that the employees, who are caught in the middle during this contract stalemate, are feeling.
OE 324 had consistently said that it would not negotiate directly with MITA and would only accept and credit fringes from all non-MITA POA contractors, and so the decision was made to remove the obstacle that was supposedly MITA. There was hope that the union leadership would be true to its word and would begin to work with industry towards some sort of resolution.
However, at a special called meeting of the Operating Engineers (OE) Local 324 Fringe Funds Board of Trustees, a resolution was offered up by the union trustees and supported by two other management trustees to return all contributions received by the Fringe Funds to MITA POA contractors for all work hours following the expiration of the MITA Utility Distribution Agreement (May 1st) and the MITA Road Agreement (June 1st). Each MITA trustee and several other management trustees opposed the move, but were outvoted.
Early this week, several contractors began to receive their submitted contributions back from the OE 324 Fringe Fund Office, even though each of these contractors had all independently pulled their POA from MITA. In other words, OE 324 moved the goal posts and continues to attempt to manipulate the negotiations process.
PUT VACATION FRINGE PAY BACK INTO PAYCHECKS
Last week, MITA told you to reverse course and start sending in the Vacation fringe contribution with your August payment and to stop paying it directly to the employee. However, that is when we believed that the OE 324 Fringe Funds would now accept and credit all rescinded MITA POA contractor contributions. We are sorry for the confusion on this subject, butit is now suggested to include the Vacation fringe (Vacation and Supplemental Vacation) in the paycheck each week for all OE employees and to not put that amount into any qualified fringe benefit plan (as referenced below).
You should let your employees know that this fringe is now included in their paychecks and will continue until further notice. It is expected that any retroactivity of any fringe contributions, including the Vacation fringe, will be a significant point of any negotiations that might take place.
HEALTH CARE COVERAGE