Collage of Local 853 members

Counting votes over zoom

The pandemic has changed how many union processes are conducted, including elections and vote counting. On March 29, Business Rep Mike Henneberry and Chief Steward Vanessa Wadley counted the ballots that members who work at Zenith Administrators in Alameda submitted on the issue of restructuring and strengthening their pension plan. But this time, they did the vote count over Zoom.

The issue arose after the employer messed up the payments owed to the pension plan. “This gave the union an opportunity to re-look at the plan and restructure it,” said Henneberry as he finished the count. The vote will impact the pensions of 57 members who work at Zenith.

Since almost 98% of the work at Zenith is being done remotely, the vote was conducted by mail ballot. Henneberry opened the outer envelope and separated out the ballots, which had been concealed in an inner envelope with no identifying information. He then counted the ballots by reading out the vote for the vote tallier (Communications Director Debra Chaplan). He then showed each ballot to Vanessa, who was on zoom.

The final tally was overwhelmingly in support of the union’s recommendation of how to strengthen the pension plan. After informing the company of the vote, Henneberry will meet with the Trust Fund to set up the mechanics to make sure that the pension contributions—both retro and current—get made properly. He’ll also make sure that back pension credits from as early as April 2019 are correctly recorded.

Author: Local 853

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