Due to budget constraints (Long story), we will be coming to a park near you to hold our Quarterly Member Meetings. We cannot afford lodging for members, but we will pay for mileage perdiem depending on the Park that we visit. We will have an agenda, but our main interest is what your issues are.
As you well know we have been meeting regularly with management (LMC) to discuss specific park issues and drafting proposals to solve.them. These meetings is your opportunity bring your park issues to the table. Who knows other parks may have the same problem.
Our first of these new meeting will be held at Nehalem Bay State Park May 19th from 11-4. It will be held at one of the yurts (look for the signs). We will pay mileage for those comming as far as South Beach to Fort Stevens.
The Long Story:
Your past officers held quarterly meetings but no one showed up so they offered to pay full lodging for members who registered (family vacation?). We continued this tradition but found that we could not sustain this offer as we began to have more than 12 members showing up regularly. Typically SEIU (other State Locals, like ODOT) only pay half the lodging for member meetings, but even at that rate we still could not afford lodging on top of mileage reimbursement (imagine someone driving from the Blue mountain district all the way to coosbay? expensive travel bill for us). SEIU wants us to continue meetings, as these are the heart of a Local to encourage members to meet and discuss concerns, so they told us to keep the meetings going while we went into the red (better red than dead?). So we eventually ended up pleading for money, rebates, ect to pay our debt. The truth of the matter is that every time you pay your dues SEIU gets most of your money (they spend it well don't worry), but your local (us) gets a small portion to pay for meetings, paper, pencils, cards to send out to members, a laptop, travel to trainings, travel for bargaining, and even pizza every time your organizer visits your park. We have made cuts to everything we can, even pizza, to keep our local going. If a Ranger had to live off our local's 2 year budget, he/she would have to move in with Mom an Dad and get an extra job to pay for gas to get to work everyday. Believe me, your President is one hell of an accountant and she is all about fiscal responsibility! There are other small Local's like Parks (ODA, ODF, ODFW, ect) in the same boat as far as Local budgets. We are hoping in the future that SEIU will give us the funding we need to provide the kinds of things that THEY want us to provide in the first place....like paid lodging for members at Quarterly meetings. Remember "The Shield?" That was cut because of printing and paper costs, which is why you are reading this Blog instead of a newsletter.