We are saddened to learn of the death of Nico Cruz. Nico was a graduate of the Mid-Level Leadership Program and a firefighter for Kansas City, Mo., and past executive board member of Fire Fighters Local 42. Our prayers are with his family.
Congratulations to Mid-Level Leadership Graduate Troy Nash for being recognized as NextGen leader by the Kansas City Business Journal.
The 17th Annual Craig Whitaker Memorial Golf Tournament beat the heat at Oakwood Country Club July 21. Photos from the tournament can be found in the photo album (left) 2014 LMC Golf Tournament. More photos will be added soon.
Foursome winners were Boilermakers Local 83, first place; JE Dunn Construction Co., second place, and Board of Public Utilities in third. The longest drive was Paul Torlina,playing on the Teamsters Local 838/Signatory Bottlers team, and closest to the pin was Butch Bishop from JE Dunn Construction Co.’s foursome.
The tournament’s success was made possible by these sponsors:
Luncheon-Bank of Labor (Luncheon)
Breakfast-Ullico Investment Co.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City
Board of Public Utilities
Boilermakers Local 83
Pipefitters Local 533
Plumbers Local 8
United Labor Credit Union
Refreshment Cart Sponsor-Teamsters Local 41
Hole Sponsors-Carpenters District Council • Heavy Construction Laborers Local 663 • Scout Investments (2) • Wagner for Kansas City
In-Kind Sponsors-BMO Harris Taft-Hartley Trust • Teamsters Local 838/Signatory Bottlers • Boilemakers Local 83 • United Labor Credit Union • Kansas City Ballet • Rockhurst University • Blue Cross Blue Shield • Cigna
Other Sponsors-Dixon Golf
Volunteers Robin Norris, Builders'Association; Greg Lever, National Institute for Construction Excellence (NICE), and Mary Jacobi ensured a smooth and enjoyable tournament.
LMC Board of Directors Summary of Minutes
July 17, 2014, 8:30 a.m. • Husch Blackwell
Attending: Sam Alpert, Jack Bainbridge, Brian Dietz, Scott Hoisington, Michael Kitchen, Alise Martiny, John Phillips, Bob Jacobi.
•Thanks to John Phillips and Husch Blackwell for hosting.
•M/S/C to approve the financial report for 2013-14 and the proposed 2014-15 budget. The 2013-14 fiscal year was positive financially and membership is growing.
•The LMC is supporting Amendment 7 on the Aug. 5 Missouri ballot. Other Aug. 5 ballot issues were discussed. The legislative agenda for 2015 will be addressed at the October meeting.
•Board members will be kept apprised of opportunities for input into the content of the Mid-America Labor/Management Conference and of recruiting progress in participants for LMC events. The Mid-Level Leadership Program next class begins Sept. 24; potential instructors have received rfps for the Advanced Mid-Level program.
•Board members will discuss the next vice co-chair for labor. Suggestions for new board members were made.
•The next board meeting will be at 8:30 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 16 at Kansas City Power & Light Co.
Congratulations to Kymberly Lewis, city of Kansas City, Mo., and LMC Mid-Level Leadership graduate, and LMC member JE Dunn Construction Co. for being honored with two of the three ACE awards for promoting diversity in the workforce given by LMC member Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. The awards will be presented at a July 29 breakfast.
The LMC congratulates the following new leaders of member organizations:
•Mike Louis, new president, and Jake Hummel, new secretary-treasurer, of the Missouri AFL-CIO. And best wishes to retiring president Hugh McVey, who has a new role with the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.
•Rick Rodriguez, new business manager, and BZ Parscale, new financial secretary of IBEW Local 124.
•Joe Lewandowski, new business manager of Boilermakers Local 83.
•Vicki Hale, new president, and Dave Barnhart, new secretary-treasurer, of UAW Local 31.
•Steven White, who becomes the new business manager of IBEW Local 53 on July 23.
We also thank their predecessors, Terry Akins, Donna Birks, Scott Albertson and Robert Stuart, for outstanding service to the LMC. Terry has been our labor co-chair and Donna served on the executive committee.
More than 175 leaders from labor, business and government learned about successful labor-management partnerships, key public issues and built skills during the 29th annual Mid-America Labor/Management Conference.
A theme emerged from conference keynote speakers: by identifying common problems, sharing information freely and working jointly, labor and management can produce extraordinary results. And those results are necessary for the U.S. to maintain a solid middle class.
“Politicians in Washington can learn from you” pointed out Alison Beck, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services (FMCS) deputy director. “I’ve spent 30 years helping fix dysfunctional relationships, and it works everywhere but in DC right now.” Beck highlighted situations where, working jointly often with the help of FMCS, labor and management “completely changed the culture” and as a result completely turned around results for their organizations.
By using tools such as relationship by objective and interest-based bargaining, Beck noted results from examples such as the Federal Aviation Administration and the Air Traffic Controllers. The FAA once had 500,000 pending grievances, and now has very few. She cited International Paper and the IBEW and Steelworkers, Disney and the Building Trades, the Federal Bureau of Prisons and AFGE and others who turned around decades of troubled relationships.
Beck also had advise on tackling tough health care issues: begin discussions early, establish joint labor-management health care committees and share information. She pointed to Alabama Power, whose joint health care efforts with IBEW dramatically reduced its costs and enhanced worker health.
Identifying the most important threat to organizations is vital, said Doug Sterbenz, executive vice president of Westar Energy: leadership. Sterbenz urged leaders to face up to tough issues and do what’s best for the organization, from setting high goals on safety to joining to influence government action affecting companies and unions. A critical aspect of leadership, Sterbenz said, is being present. “You must be present to win” physically, mentally and emotionally.
Sterbenz provided examples of such leadership, and emphasized the power of connecting what people want with the organization’s mission. Leadership, he contended, is taking people to good places they wouldn’t go on their own.
The turnaround at Ford Motor Co. is an example of leadership facing tough choices and acting on them. Martin Mulloy, recently retired Ford vice president of labor relations, noted the heroic efforts of Bill Ford, Alan Mulally and Ron Gettlefinger among others to make the changes needed for Ford and the jobs its supplies to survive.
Ford and the UAW began facing the hard choices even before the economic collapse of 2008, Mulloy noted. That enabled the company to survive the downturn and begin growing again without a government bailout.
Mulloy pointed out that Ford lost $50 billion from 2001-2010, and lost substantial market share. Working closely with the United Auto Workers to restructure the organization, Ford is now making more than $8 billion per year with substantial profit-sharing and creating new jobs.
The UAW and Ford accomplished this without government subsidies, though Mulloy added that government intervention for General Motors and Chrysler benefitted Ford greatly by sustaining the supplier base that all three, plus foreign-owned U.S. plants (transplants), rely on for U.S. manufacturing.
Restructuring was painful--Ford’s hourly workforce declined from more than 100,000 to 45,000 (now growing to about 55,000) but that reduction came with no involuntary layoffs. Workers were given incentives and help to leave and focus on new careers. Retiree health costs were taken over by the UAW, while some plants were closed and others revitalized.
Evidence of the successful turnaround is in the Kansas City area as Ford is investing $1.5 billion at its plant there. The workforce is growing to more than 6,000. Mulloy noted that the company, local UAW leadership and the state of Missouri collaborated to make the investment and growth possible. He praised support from Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and legislators for the plant’s growth. President Obama has visited the plant as well as other Ford plants to showcase the resurgence of U.S. manufacturing.
Much of Ford’s challenge comes from the transplants--the significant growth of Japanese, German and Korean auto firms who built U.S. plants and continued exporting cars to the U.S. Operating with new, highly-subsidized plants and no legacy costs for retirees or health care, the transplants at one point could produce cars at a labor cost about half what Ford could do. But the restructuring, taking advantage of UAW workers’ productivity and the beginning of transplants’ legacy costs has nearly eliminated the gap and generated new job growth for Ford and the UAW.
Ford and the UAW used interest-based bargaining principles. When both sides frankly discussed issues, new solutions were developed that otherwise would not have emerged, Mulloy pointed out.
The renewed success is not without challenges, Mulloy noted. Foreign manufacturers are now clustering new plants in Mexico and building a supplier base there. South Korea has a massive auto export complex, and the proposed Trans Pacific Trade Partnership could give importers even greater advantages without improving the export rules for U.S. automakers. Mulloy urged participants to learn about the “TPP” and work jointly to communicate concerns to the administration and Congress.
Auto manufacturing is a bedrock of the U.S. middle class, Mulloy said. Each auto assembly job spurs creation of 10 more jobs, which is why every nation protects its domestic auto industry, he pointed out. Such jobs pay good wages and benefits, supporting families and communities. U.S. government policies need to encourage such manufacturing if the U.S. is to maintain a strong middle class, Mulloy contended.
Now a consultant, Mulloy is writing a book to be published soon. He is co-authoring with professor Joel Crutcher-Greenfield and a UAW writer. The book will be published by MIT Press. He is also president-elect of the Labor and Employment Relations Association, an international group of academics, management and labor that studies and discusses workplace issues (www.lera.org).
Generational diversity is a key issue in the unionized workplace, noted Lu-Ann Glaser, FMCS director of ADR Services. That’s because a critical challenge is retention and attraction of workers. Both management and unions benefit when workers stay with the organization, yet changes in the way new generations of workers approach work often decrease retention.
Glaser explained key differences in the experiences of the generations now in the workplace, and how they can impact productivity and retention. Both she and audience members agreed that opening communication, transparency, broad involvement in decision-making and listening by top managers and union leaders can turn generational conflict into an asset.
Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander agreed with Beck that legislators can learn from the way labor and management address conflict and opportunity. He highlighted efforts to restrict voting rights and asked that participants join him in making it easier, rather than harder, for qualified voters to participate. He also updated the attendees on his now-10 month old son, True, whose coming he announced at last year’s conference.
Participants also heard from Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel. Zweifel, a Teamsters member, noted the importance of the collective bargaining process to a productive, broad middle class. He touted the apprenticeship model as one to be more widely used.
Experts in energy production debated the impact of proposed Environmental Protection Agency rules on carbon emissions. The proposed rules give states tough standards but considerable flexibility in meeting those standards. While the panel did not agree on the impact on jobs and power rates, all agreed that states should focus on job preservation and creation and rates as well as environmental impact in energy policy. Panelists represented Missourians for a Balanced Energy Future, the IBEW, Ameren, the National Resources Defense Council and the office of U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt.
West County (Missouri) EMS and Fire District Deputy Director Tim Dorsey revealed the changes in the role of firefighters. While today thankfully the number of fires has decreased, the intensity has been boosted dramatically by modern materials vastly more explosive than even 25 years ago. The time available to save a room or a life after a fire begins has dropped from about 30 minutes to just four. Today’s firefighters also wear more hats, from emergency medical to water rescue, and require continual training.
Workshops provided nuts and bolts examples, ideas and discussion. Workshops included:
•Successfully processing NLRB cases. Regional Director Dan Hubbel and deputy regional attorney Mary Taves provided insight into the NLRB process.
•The Boilermakers MOST program, a joint labor-management safety effort, has in 25 years reduced injury rates by 90 percent, eye injuries by more than 60 percent, the cost of certifying welders by 95 percent and aided workers, contractors and customers.
•With a newly-confirmed board, NLRB attorney Cristal Key reviewed examples of work rules that violate the NLRA and ones likely to be ruled legal.
•Pat Dunn, FMCS, continued a conference tradition with a mock mediation showing participants how a mediation proceeds and what to expect from the process.
•The impact of the Affordable Care Act, particularly Taft-Hartley plans, was reviewed. Some issues remain to be resolved but the act has clearly changed the health care marketplace. Helping participants understand the impact were Kit Wager, U.S. Health and Human Services ACA Specialist, Brent Wehmeyer from Blue Cross Blue Shield and Bryan Flannery from Cigna.
•A panel of utility and legislative experts explained the challenges of dealing with our aging utility infrastructure, which will require significant investment to address current and future needs.
•Workers mistakenly classified as independent contractors have a significant negative effect on those workers and on taxpayers, and Missouri is aggressively enforcing proper classification. Thom Pudlowski, MODOLIR, explained the impact and the state’s policies.
The conference was followed immediately by a utility benchmark roundtable. Similar programs can be available for other industries at future conferences.
Held for the first time at Camden on the Lake, the conference drew participants not just from Missouri and Kansas but Nebraska, Wisconsin and other states. The conference is organized by a planning committee led by Chas Young, special assistant to the director of the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, and supported by MODOLIR staff and volunteers. It was also the first conference for new MODOLIR Director Ryan McKenna.
Conference sponsors included Westar Energy, Bank of Labor, Missouri AFL-CIO, Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, Missouri Lottery, IBEW Local 304, Commerce Bank, Chiefs Ambassadors, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, Missourians for a Balanced Energy Future, Cigna, Kansas Gas Service, Missouri State Utility Workers Conference, Missouri Association of Career Fire Protection Districts, Labor-Management Council of Greater Kansas City, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, National Labor Relations Board and Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.