We are Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3 and we represent some 35,000 workers in the construction, materials, maintenance, and public service industries in Northern California, Northern Nevada, Utah, and Hawaii.
Local 3’s history in the rock, sand and gravel industry goes back to its very founding in 1939. Working in quarries, batch plants, and asphalt plants as Dinkey Engineers, Steam Shovel Operators, Powdermen and Wagon Drillers, members earned up to $1.40 an hour, a lot in those days. Much has changed since then. Today computerized crushers and batching silos have increased production and safety. But, as the approximately 800 members working under 75 labor contracts know, the industry remains dangerous and continues to take a heavy toll on the bodies of those who do this work.
For this reason Local 3 has long made retiree medical benefits a key component of its rock, sand and gravel contracts, as it has in other contracts. Knowing that they'll have access to affordable medical care in their later years, when decades of hard work has left them broken down, brings members peace of mind today and insures they'll have a dignified retirement tomorrow. It is not surprising then that members have been willing to self-fund the cost of these benefits for decades.
Graniterock, based in Watsonville, California, has used the services of Local 3's members for more than 60 years and its success is directly related to their skill and productivity. Graniterock’s employees have repeatedly elected to pay for their own retiree medical benefits by allocating a portion of their negotiated wage increases to a fund for that purpose, which over the course of fifty-years, built for them a strong and reliable source of benefits. Unfortunately, this year, Graniterock unilaterally decided to eliminate employees’ access to the fund and to bar further participation in it. Barred from the benefits they planned on and paid for, Graniterock’s retirees will have no choice then but to seek publically-paid medical treatment in their later years. This hurts the workers and public alike.
Please sign this petition and join us to tell Graniterock to honor employees' desire to keep the medical benefits they have long depended on to take care of them in their senior years.
I URGE YOU NOT TO FORCE YOUR EMPLOYEES TO RELY ON PUBLICLY PAID MEDICAL CARE IN THEIR SENIOR YEARS.