Scores of union members fill Legal Committee meeting

Friday, May 5, 2023

Some members of our local went to Roswell New Mexico to support local 51 in their fight against the town council for a fair contract with better wages, benefits and working conditions. Below is the story from RDRNews

It was an overflow crowd at a Roswell Legal Committee meeting on Thursday when dozens of members of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) paid a visit to Roswell City Hall. The people represented local UWUA chapters from around the country and were staying at a local hotel.

A loudspeaker allowed many of the UWUA members to stand outside the meeting room and hear what was occurring in the crowded meeting room.

Far-flung members of this union came to the meeting to support the chapter in Roswell. The national UWUA has 45,000 members. UWUA Local #51 has a membership of about 70 Roswell city government workers.

Bruce Andler, who works for the city and is the union local’s vice president, explained after the meeting that there are at least 170 Roswell city employees who are eligible to join.

These city workers have jobs with duties falling under nearly 30 different descriptions, such as animal control officers, code enforcement officers, custodians, equipment operators, laborers, sanitation workers, vehicle operators, water meter readers and zoo keepers, according to the current agreement between the city and UWUA ending June 30, 2024.

Craig Romanovich is a high-ranking UWUA representative from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who also serves on the Union Veterans Council. He told people at the meeting that the small army of UWUA members was there to support the Local #51 members employed by the city.

He said one way the city could show its support for these employees is by improving their cost of living pay increases. Another would be to pay their heavy equipment and large vehicle drivers "$10 more an hour."

The starting hourly rate for drivers who operate vehicles that require a Commercial Driver's License is $15.86, which is among the lowest amounts in the region, according to previous reporting by the Roswell Daily Record.

Romanovich asked questions about items on the agenda. For example, one proposal is whether the committee would recommend to the city council that city staff request proposals for unarmed security services to patrol the terminal. They wouldn’t be handling the duties of Transportation Security Administration employees. Romanovich asked whether unionized security would be considered to work at the Roswell Air Center. “We’d be happy to do it,” City Attorney Hess Yntema replied. The committee recommended this item to city councilors.



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