|In this photo taken at the September 21 general membership meeting are, from left to right: Myra Hepburn, Grace Adams-Cunningham, Steve Turkeltaub, Danette Torres, Richard Lanigan, Mark Phillips, Kelly Cunin, Jeanne Drevon and Pansy Royal.
Local 153 Business Manager Richard Lanigan and the union's administration team were re-elected by acclamation at a general membership meeting held on September 21. It will be Lanigan's second term as Business Manager, and he and the rest of the elected administration will serve for three years.
The meeting was open to all members of Local 153, and they had a choice of either attending in person or via Zoom video conference. Because of the ongoing pandemic, it is not surprising that the vast majority of members chose the latter method of attending.
The nominations and election portion of the meeting was chaired by Maralin Falik, the Chief Executive Officer of Global Election Services, a company that monitors votes to ensure fairness and accuracy. Nominations were allowed either in person or via Zoom.
Lanigan and the entire administration slate were nominated by Monique Davis, a Local 153 member employed at Emblem Health. In making the nomination Davis cited many of the accomplishments of the union in the last three years.
"Madam Chair, I would like to say a few words about this team," Davis said. "They are experienced and always work in the best interest of the members."
Davis noted that the union's administration and staff work long hours, and often on weekends to service members.
"In the last three years the union's staff has represented members in grievances, negotiated good contracts with employers, negotiated terms to assist people with the impact of the pandemic, and negotiated furloughs instead of layoffs to preserve medical coverage," she said.
In listing other actions by the administration, Davis pointed out that Local 153 activated members for the 2020 election, increased representation capacity by hiring an additional field representative, and took advantage of OPEIU's Apprentice Organizing Program to organize new members. She added that Local 112 had merged, bringing into Local 153 nearly 800 nurses as new members. As we reported in the last edition of Local 153 News, the merger brought with it financial resources that would be exclusively applied to organizing new members.
The union also "took measures to deal with the pandemic," Davis said. "It tightened its belt, and restructured finances and staffing," adding that Local 153 has developed a more collaborative approach with the establishment of the Finance Committee.
"Three years ago, the Local 153 Pension was likely to crash, today it is on a substantial footing," she said. "Many groups are now in the OPEIU National Retirement Savings Plan, one of the best 401 (k) plans in the country. The Local 153 Benefits Plan is a short time away from announcing the new Retiree Medical Savings Plan and OPEIU just announced discount retiree health care."
Davis concluded her nomination of the administration slate by declaring, "Local 153 is a union that is showing that it can fight for its members and is engaging members and shop leaders to train them for the future. Although the union has been through a lot, it is currently postured to grow and represent members aggressively."
Since there were no other slate or individual nominations, Lanigan and the administration were re-elected by acclamation. Here is the administration elected on September 21:
Business Manager: Richard Lanigan; President: Steve Turkeltaub, Joint Industry Board; Vice President: Wilma Artau Banda, Fruitco; Secretary-Treasurer: Myra Hepburn; Recording Secretary: Brenda St. John, HealthNow; Trustees: Patrick Flanagan, Hilton Hotel, Millie Sanchez, Municipal Credit Union, and Jessica Timo, United Federation of Teachers.
Executive Board: Nora Avila, General Vision Services; Frances Avnet, Hofstra University; Grace Ann Cunningham, Emblem Health; Anna Gallo, Long Island University; Susan Hermon, New York University Tandon; Julio Hernandez, AFSCME DC37; Philip Holmgren, Segal Company; Brenda Knight, Seton Hall University; Richard C. Knowles, Depository Trust; Amanda Kowalski, Lehigh Valley Hospital; Peter McGurgan, Wesleyan University (Physical Plant); Judith Morales, Advantage Care Physicians/SIPP; Kathy Neville, Knights of Columbus; Margaret Noonan, Fordham University; Jason Rodgers, Pratt Institute; Brandee Seigreied, Lehigh Valley Hospital; Eugene Taylor, Public Service Electric & Gas; Danette Torres,SEIU 32BJ; Gil Yellinek, Amalgamated Bank.
It should be noted that Lanigan, Turkeltaub, Artau Banda, Hepburn and St. John were elected to be delegates to the 2023 OPEIU Convention by virtue of their office.
"I want to thank the Local 153 membership for this vote of confidence in the union's leadership team," Lanigan said, following the administration's re-election. "And I express deep gratitude to the members of the union's administration and staff for their dedication and hard work. They do not have easy jobs as a rule, but they have worked even harder during this unprecedented pandemic. On their behalf and on behalf of myself I pledge to all members that we will continue do everything possible to earnestly represent you not only during these difficult times but at all times."