Announcement #004-04

As you should be aware of by now, the final version of the ’04 contract is hot off the press and the pit foreman are more than eager for all of us to sign it and take receipt of the GPS phones.

While the Board of Directors of the Association did have some questions regarding the final version of the contract, we are happy to report that our questions have been answered favorably, and we stand behind this contract!

The recommendation of the executive board at this time is for all contractors to submit signed contracts as soon as possible and take receipt of the GPS units immediately.

As a matter of clarification, the questions that we needed answered surrounded the Mass Highway Department’s ever-changing policies regarding compensation for contractors who have worked the first few snow and ice events of the season.

Mass Highway has made it clear that all contractors, as a matter of courtesy will be paid straight through for actual time worked with no 1/2-hour beaks being shown. Also, the department has assured the executive board that all equipment which has reported for duty shall be paid from the time the equipment arrives at it’s designated site, plus one half hour travel time.

Further, it was resolved today (12/17/03) that a grievance procedure be adhered to when and if any contractor becomes aggrieved by a decision made by his/her pit boss. It should be made clear that while this should be viewed as yet another victory for the Snow & Ice Contractors, we should all keep in mind that this system can work both ways, and if the pit boss has a problem with the contractor that he/she should also be expected to answer to a higher authority.

It should be mentioned that the first grievance was heard under this new plan, and the outcome was favorable for both the contractor as well as the Department. The particular contractor who was aggrieved was reinstated with his equipment, and the matter was resolved.

This should further exemplify to our membership as to how a well-organized group can effect change!

The liaison between our Association and the Mass Highway Department is Mr. Michael Davis and Mr. Robert “Woody” Wood for District 4, and Mr. Fred Nava, our esteemed treasurer as the District 5 representative.

Offers are on the table from contractors in districts 1, 2, and 3 and those representatives will be named at a future time.

At this time, a meeting of the full membership is planned for January 15, 2004 at 7:00 PM at the Raynham/Taunton Track in Club House #1. the “snow date” for the meeting will be Saturday, January 17 at 10:00 AM at the Track.

While we are all very confident that we have negotiated the very best contract for the remainder of this season, we are beginning to work now on an even better contract for the ’04-’05 Snow & Ice season.

I would like to make reference to some of what we have gained in the new agreement;

• We are no longer losing a 1/2-hour of compensation every 8 hours as we have in the past; we are being paid for actual time worked with no forced breaks.

• The GPS Nextel unit is no longer tied to your pay, nor is it being used as a tool for accounting; it is a tracking device being used for accountability only, which we never opposed.

• All forfeiture language has been removed from the agreement.

• The current payment system of PV’s will prevail, and this is the accounting method which will dictate your compensation.

• We have been granted a 3-hour minimum call out, increased from 2 hours.

• The hold harmless/ indemnity clause has been removed from the agreement, and the contractor’s liability has been reduced.

• In the event that a GPS unit is damaged due to causes other than malicious intent, the Department shall absorb the replacement cost of the 1st phone.

• In the event that a contractor requires a power converter for the unit to remain properly charged, the department will supply the converter.

• The proposed 30-minute response clause was removed.

• A new May 31st contract expiration date, which compels the department to bargain in good faith through the remainder of this winter as well as next summer.

• The Department has struck a deal with the Registry of Motor Vehicles; this deal provides free registrations to all snow and ice vehicles, which are used for no purpose other than snow fighting for Mass Highway. This special plate will be available from 11/1/04 forward for the ’04-’05 snow & ice season, and will be a six month plate. Mass Highway has informed us that this plate will be free the first year.

• The one item we have given up in the new agreement is travel time. What we need to keep in mind is that the first time we work 8 hours we are gaining a 1/2-hour pay compared to the past contracts.

What the membership needs to keep in perspective is that this contract represents the shortest snow & ice season ever in the history of the department. This contract truly is a 90-day agreement. November has passed and December is just about over, and in reality this new agreement is for the remainder of the season.

In addition to the above accomplishments, Mass Highway has agreed that there will be no signs of retaliation or retribution against any contractors who did not sign draft 1 or 2 of the proposed contract, and that all contractors who posses a valid ’03 contract remain secure in there positions.

It is imperative at this point that we continue to show Mass Highway how well organized we are, and submit our contracts and receive the GPS units just as soon as humanly possible.

As a group we made it very clear to the department how strong we are by rejecting two consecutive contract offers, as well as the rejection of the GPS units as an accounting tool.

Now it is time for our organization to continue to show our strength and unity by accepting this agreement unanimously and begin to familiarize ourselves with the GPS units.

Thank you for all of your support!

Your President,

Matt Frazier

If you should have any questions, please feel free to contact any of the following people:

Matt Frazier 508-349-7969
Dana Barrows 508-758-9414
Mike Davis 781-380-3799
Fred Nava 781-585-9006

 
MASNOWFIGHTERS