message from the president

April 2019

 

Shaping Our Futures

As we begin this month, we reflect on the importance of the approaching election season. Getting involved in these dialogues is key as they affect the future of labor and of working men and women. It’s essential that we stay driven and motivate those around us to also participate in these matters. The recent change to voting laws allows us to have an earlier opportunity to speak out about the issues that are most significant to us as working people. Early voting helps us begin the conversation with elected officials in our communities sooner. We are calling on our members to once again come out and make their voices heard in the upcoming primaries.

In January, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to improve voting access in New York State. In part of this new law, federal and state primary elections will now be held on the same date in June. Until this year, New York State has held separate primary elections and when you factor in Presidential Primaries, New York State could have up to four elections a year, leading to voter confusion and high costs to taxpayers. Streamlining the state primary dates with the federal primary dates, makes it easier for voters to know when to get out and vote! Now that primaries will be held earlier in the year, it is vital to confirm that you are registered to vote! If you aren’t registered, speak to your Union or Funds/Service Representative. Or if you want to confirm your registration, visit the Board of Elections website, www.elections.ny.gov

I regularly emphasize the importance of voting and making our voices heard and as a result this year we’ve seen a great shift in the political make up of our State government. However, it isn’t just simply about voting, it’s also about engaging directly with our Legislators so they truly understand the issues that impact Local 338 members and their communities. As we continue our efforts in support of legislation to legalize adult use cannabis, we count on the support of elected officials who recognize this as an opportunity for both economic and social justice. Currently, hundreds of workers in our State’s medical cannabis industry have a strong union contract that provide family sustaining wages and benefits. By creating a regulated adult-use cannabis industry, there is great potential to expand the number of good careers to thousands more New Yorkers. Over the next few months, we may be asking you to call your State Senator and Assembly Member and ask them to support the legalization of adult-use cannabis, as well as protections to ensure opportunities for union jobs.

Creating opportunities for working men and women is equally as important when thinking about the future, particularly in regard to retirement. Even if you haven’t reached retirement age, it’s important to plan early and understand what is available to you through your Local 338 pension or annuity, Social Security benefits, and 401K if you contribute to one. In most cases, it’s best to plan 10-15 years out before reaching full retirement age to properly cover your retirement needs, but earlier is always better. With the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits increasing this year, it’s essential for you to review your retirement savings plans and make adjustments as needed.

As we spring into warmer weather, I’d like to take a moment to wish all who celebrate, a Happy Easter and Happy Passover. I hope that you and your family enjoy these holidays!


As Always, and In Solidarity,




John R. Durso



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LOCAL 338 RWDSU/UFCW  •  1505 Kellum Place  •  Mineola, New York 11501
Main Office (516) 294-1338  •  Union Call Center (516) 294-1338 ext. 1775  •  Medical Call Center (516) 294-1338 ext. 1776
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