LMC Board of Directors Summary of Minutes
July 27, 2016, 8:30 a.m. • Husch Blackwell
Attending: Sam Alpert, James Daley, Allen Dillingham, Curt Summers, Bob Jacobi
•Thanks to Curt Summers and Husch Blackwell for hosting.
•The LMC had positive net income in 2015-16.
•M/S/C to approve the proposed 2016-17 budget.
•The Board requests that the Issues Committee research the Clay Chastain initiative likely to go on the ballot in KCMO; the proposed Community Benefit Agreement program being considered for incentivized KCMO projects; and possible support for Kansas legislation similar to the Missouri’s recently-enacted public-private partnerships act (SB 861). The Construction Committee will look jointly at the CBA issue with the Issues Committee.
•The Board discussed KCI replacement and the impact of transportation on the regional economy.
•LMC events showed improved attendance and net during 2015-16. Having four Title Co-Sponsors (Carpenters, Cigna, Delta Innovative Services and IBEW Local 124) ensured the 2016 golf tournament was successful. Ideas are sought for the 2017 Mid-America Labor/Management Conference July 9-12. Information on the ’16-17 Mid-Level Leadership program (first class Sept. 21) will go out soon, as will sponsorship information for the Public Officials Reception (Oct. 6).
•The Board will consider the 2017 legislative agenda, potential new board members and officers and date/possible speaker for the 2017 awards dinner at its October board meeting.
•The next Board meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, location TBA (volunteers for hosting are encouraged).
The LMC mourns the death of Dutch Newman. Dutch, a nationally-influential political leader, was a strong supporter of the LMC and encouraged elected officials, candidates and others to support labor-management collaboration. Her advice, drive, kindness and unmatchable knowledge will be greatly missed.
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service National Labor-Management Conference is nearly sold out, but those interested in the event Aug. 16-19 in Chicago can check out www.fmcs.gov for registration and program information. The conference has an excellent lineup of speakers and workshops.
United Labor Credit Union Earns First at LMC Golf Tournament
Golfers enjoyed a mild morning at Oakwood Country Club during the 19th Annual St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council Cigna Delta Innovative Services and IBEW Local 124 Craig Whitaker Memorial Labor-Management Council (LMC) Golf Tournament Monday.
United Labor Credit Union took first place; Cigna second place and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City third place in the foursome competition. Tournament photos can be found at the left under 2016 Golf Tournament.
Title Sponsors making the tournament possible were:
Carpenters Regional Council of St. Louis-Kansas City Cigna Delta Innovative Services IBEW Local 124
Eagle Sponsors included Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City, JE Dunn Construction Co., Kansas City Board of Public Utilities, Pipefitters Local 533, Principal, Turner Construction Co. and United Labor Credit Union. Teamsters Local 838/Signatory Bottlers was the refreshment sponsor, and other refreshment sponsors included Kansas City Power & Light Co. and United Auto Workers Local 249. Hole sponsors were Boilermakers Local 83 and BMO Taft-Hartley.
An impressive array of raffle prizes was donated by Jackson County Executive Frank White, International Builders & Consultants Inc., Teamsters Local 838, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna and BMO Taft-Hartley. Volunteers included Mary Jacobi, Amanda Stinger of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority and Colleen White, Strategic Workplace Solutions. Dawn Wilson and Angela Brown, BMO Taft-Hartley Trust, also assisted.
Ray Van Ness took the nearest-to-the-pin honors and Jeff O’Neil had the longest drive.
The tournament is named for its founder Craig Whitaker, a longtime LMC board member. Whitaker founded the event to promote relationship-building between labor and management as part of the LMC’s mission to enhance collaboration and trust. The event also raises funds for the LMC, a nonprofit membership organization based at Rockhurst University.
The 31st Mid-America Labor/Management Conference gave its more than 140 participants a meaty finish as presenters showcased interest-based bargaining and explored utility infrastructure issues, and more prizes were awarded.
Parkway School District in St. Louis County embarked on interest-based bargaining (IBB) several years ago to overcome a history of confrontational relationships. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services (FMCS) Commissioner and now Regional Director Barbara Rumph assisted implementation of the new program.
IBB requires the participants to work as one team--being transparent with information, goals and interests, and with discussions leading to consensus before taking agreements to union members and the school board for ratification. Parkway Chief Human Resources Officer Amy Joyce and Parkway National Education Association Patrick McPartland described how IBB training, year-round communication through a communication lab, joint research elimination of positional barriers among team members have generated mutually-beneficial contracts and to solving many problems before they blow up.
While the process has been successful, all three noted continuous work and improvement is vital.
Rumph noted that IBB isn’t necessarily better than traditional bargaining or a blend of bargaining systems, but it provides an alternative for parties who want to enhance relationships and focus on win-win contracts.
Missouri is one of just four states without a means for investor-owned electric utilities to recover infrastructure investments as they are made. Missouri does have such a system for gas utilities that has generated safer systems, greater reliability and good jobs for the community. Investor-owned water utilities also had a system in St. Louis County until the Missouri Office of Public Counsel challenged it in court; the case will go to the state Supreme Court while legislative efforts to restore it continue.
Panelists revealed that the state’s aging utility infrastructure poses safety, reliability and ultimately financial challenges for ratepayers. Because few utilities now have annual load growth, funding to fix the infrastructure is sparse; in fact, the state’s current regulatory system discourages fixing problems early leading to greater expense later.
Labor and utility management have worked together to urge regulators and legislators to address the issue, but the rate-increase fears of both large industrial users and consumer representatives have stymied a solution. “It isn’t about more or less regulation, but the right regulation” to protect consumers’ long-term interests, noted Larry Pleus, legislative director for Spire (formerly Laclede). IBEW Business Representative Mark Staffne, Greater St. Louis AFL-CIO President Pat White and Missouri Rep. Rocky Miller, also an engineer, agreed. Missouri American Water Legislative Director Christine Page noted that the legal action by the Office of Public Counsel has led to layoffs, redirection of capital investment to other states and continued deterioration of infrastructure in St. Louis County.
Workforce development was also noted, and inclusion is aggressively sought by the industry and new workers are needed.
Attendees were urged to educate themselves on the issue and communicate with elected officials.
The conference concluded with awarding prizes donated by Walter White, Kansas City Chiefs Ambassadors, Bank of Labor, Camden on the Lake and the conference. Conference sponsors were recognized including Westar Energy, Bank of Labor, St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council, Principal Financial Group, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, FMCS, National Labor Relations Board, Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, IBEW Local 304 and the Labor-Management Council of Greater Kansas City.
Attendees were also encouraged to consider the FMCS National Labor-Management Conference in Chicago Aug. 17-19; details available at www.fmcs.gov .
Later the conference planning committee congratulated first-year chair Tammy Cavender, Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, for the event’s success, and added Dan Hink, Painters District Council 3 apprenticeship program, to the committee.
The 2017 conference will be July 9-12, again at Camden on the Lake.
Conference photos and handouts are available at www.malmc.org , as well as photos in this blog.
New Workforce, Border War and Arbitration Highlight MALMC 2nd Day
Lake Ozark, Mo.- Employers and unions must change attitudes and tactics to successfully recruit and retain young workers particularly minorities and women, the Carpenters told the Mid-America Labor/Management Conference Tuesday at Camden on the Lake.
The St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council fielded a panel including a contractor, consultant, local union and apprenticeship officers to explore their experiences. Key to success with the emerging workforce is communication. New methods, such as texting, and more intensive on-boarding are critical to reaching these potential workers. Demetrius Johnson, former University of Missouri and NFL star, also noted that preparing particularly minorities for the workplaces they will face is critical to retention. Supervisors and co-workers must be prepared to accept new workers as well, and both formal and informal mentoring is perhaps the most important element.
The conference also heard Border War, NBA and other stories from Bud Stallworth, former University of Kansas basketball and academic All-American. Stallworth, who worked with construction services at KU for many years, regaled the audience with his stories. Stallworth added he would support a petition drive to restore the Border War so KU and the University of Missouri would play each other in basketball and football. Stallworth was presented an MU shirt which he claimed he would wear.
The sports theme continued at the conference banquet, where former Kansas City Chiefs stars Walter White, Commerce Bank, and Art Still took photos with attendees and provided memorabilia for the event’s prize drawings. Attendees also had the opportunity to try Missouri-produced wines before the banquet.
A mock arbitration, organized by Steve Boyce of Westar Energy, highlighted key elements for making a successful arbitration case.
Conference photos and some presentations can be found at its website, www.malmc.org , Photos and a final summary will also be available here.
Lake Ozark, Mo--Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway and Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Esther George highlighted the links between finance and the workplace at the opening session of the 31st Mid-America Labor/Management Conference at Camden on the Lake. The first day also featured Missouri Court of Appeals live hearings and workshops on labor law.
Galloway noted current audits of prevailing wage compliance by state and local governments in the state as well as looks at the more than 6,000 special taxing districts in the state. Ensuring compliance and transparent practices protects taxpayers, workers and law-abiding businesses, she said. Galloway shared her family background in both union and management construction careers provide her with understanding of the benefits of labor-management cooperation and middle-class jobs. She encouraged attendees to contact her with information on possible problems with state and local government operations.
George was praised by Pat “Duke” Dujakovich, president of the Greater Kansas CIty AFL-CIO and Labor-Management Council of GKC co-chair. Dujakovich serves on the national Federal Reserve Board Advisory Committee and said George is a leader at involving labor and other community leaders in advising the Fed on actual economic conditions.
The first woman appointed president of the Kansas City Fed, George pointed out the search committee hiring her was led by a labor leader, Terry Moore of the Omaha Federation of Labor. She pointed out that the Fed’s role in monetary stability gets extensive media attention, but the Fed is also charged with helping achieve full employment. The Fed’s economic researchers compile extensive information on labor markets and tries to assess the impact of Fed policies on employment.
George serves this year as a voting member of the Fed’s Open Market Committee, which sets interest rates. She supports gradual increases towards a normal rate so that incentives for excessive risk do not distort the economy, especially given continued economic growth. She did not dissent from the committee’s decision to hold the rate at 25 basis points at the last meeting due to the surprising May jobs report and uncertainty from the British Brexit vote. However, she believes that the strong June jobs report demonstrates economic growth could justify a small increase at the next vote.
The economy is giving mixed signals, particularly the workforce, she noted. Unemployment is 4.9 percent, workers are returning to the labor force, a record six million jobs are advertised as open, some employers complain about the lack of qualified workers and wage growth is again above inflation. Yet many workers face great anxiety and wage growth has been slower than in past recoveries, she pointed out.
Current weakness in energy commodity and related industries has cost jobs in that sector, but otherwise most of the economy is growing, according to George.
George’s explanation for the contradiction is that there is growth in high-skilled, high-paid jobs and low-skilled, low wage jobs but middle-skilled jobs, the basis for middle class opportunity, are disappearing so growth isn’t affecting all workers equally. Many of these jobs have been lost due to technology, global competition and changes in how businesses operate. Workers face the choice of pursuing higher skills through education or finding lower-paid work. Millions of formerly middle-class workers lack the skills for jobs that pay what they used to make.
The Fed’s tool of monetary policy may have done as much as it can to stimulate growth and employment, George said. Fiscal policies, such as infrastructure investment, increased education and training, tax clarity and regulatory changes likely would have the greatest future impact, but George emphasized those policies are up to elected leaders.
Conference attendees then moved to workshops. Vic Taylor, director of safety and training for Kansas City Power & Light Co., shared how human performance management can enhance workplace safety. He outlined techniques for creating error tolerant systems that can minimize the consequences of inevitable human error. He also recommended books by Todd Conklin and by Sidney Dekker. Dan Hubble, regional director for the National Labor Relations Board, provided a guide to fair representation standards under the National Labor Relations Act.
The economic theme returned as Matthew Capece, Carpenters, described the growing practice of payroll fraud in the construction industries. Subcontractors will use workers supplied by labor brokers, and pay them off the books defrauding the workers, workers compensation insurers and taxing entities of significant funds while making law-abiding contractors uncompetitive. Such techniques are now being used even on large and on government construction projects, Capece noted, and compound the fraud from illegally issuing workers 1099s rather than pay them as employees. In Kentucky, there is greater loss from payroll fraud than from robberies.
Capese said recent interpretations by the US Dept. of Labor and by the National Labor Relations Board of joint employer doctrine will be very useful in combatting such fraud, if resources are available to investigate it. One California contractor forced workers to give him back some of their earnings and is now serving prison time. More information is available at payrollfraud.net and on Facebook at Stop Payroll Fraud.
Attendees saw workplace law in action as a the Western Missouri Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in three labor-related cases. Appeals Judges Mark Pfeffer, Rex Gabbert and Gary Witt explained some of the workings of the Court of Appeals as well, noting that the average time from oral arguments to a decision has decreased from 100 days to 30 days in the past decade.
The cases included Schrock vs. Gan, a discrimination case that also involves questions of whether the Appeals Court has jurisdiction at this stage of the case; Timster’s World Foundation vs. Missouri Division of Employment Security, in which the foundation appealed the state’s determination that it employed workers rather than independent contractors; and Majors vs. Treasurer of the State of Missouri, a Second Injury Fund case hinging on whether a physician needed to make a specific determination to find that a worker has suffered a permanent total disability. Results of these cases, and all of its cases, can be found on the Court of Appeals web site, www.courts.mo.gov .
Workshops completed the afternoon as Mary Taves, National Labor Relations Board officer in charge of the Kansas City office explained each of the articles under the NLRA and how cases can be filed; and Barbara Rumph, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Region 6 director explored how and if the millennial generation is different from others.
The conference continues at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. Many of the presentations will soon be available at the conference web site, www.malmc.org .