On Oct. 17, the PROTEC17 Regional Executive Committee (REC), our policy making body, convened via video conference to conduct union business. The REC meets twice per year – usually in-person in Tukwila in March and October – but due to the pandemic, this was the second meeting in 2020 that was conducted virtually.
The meeting opened with a welcome and tribal land acknowledgement by PROTEC17 President Rachael Brooks and then delegates were able to introduce themselves to each other in small virtual breakout rooms. After returning to the session, delegates motioned to approve the minutes from the March meeting, and then heard a ‘state-of-the-union’ update from Executive Director Karen Estevenin.
“This has been an unprecedented year for our union,” said Estevenin. “Staff and leaders have been working hard to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic, while members have been more active than ever around issues of racial justice, political action, and keeping our union strong.”
PROTEC17 Secretary/Treasurer Jessica Garcia then introduced the budget and reviewed line items that had changed based on projections early in the year before the start of the pandemic. Delegates were able to get their questions answered and will bring that information to the March meeting when the 2021 budget is presented to the REC.
The Constitution Committee – introduced by committee member Dan Stanton – talked about their progress on revising PROTEC17’s governing document, and brought two amendments to the floor for approval before sending them to the entire membership for a vote. Delegates discussed and debated the amendments, before motioning to approve the vote. As you can read in more detail on page 4, the two amendments – one adding language on the process of removing the Executive Director or an Executive Board member for misconduct, and the other redefinining the designation of Board seats – were passed by the membership on Dec. 10.
Director Estevenin then discussed our revamped political program and growing member involvement, which included dozens of members who participated in 60 endorsement interviews this year. She turned it over to PROTEC17 Operations Director and Election Chair Anthony Davidson, who recapped that the 2020 Board election was uncontested, therefore Vice President Sean Simmons and Trustee Renee Thompson would begin their next three-year term in 2021.
At the October 2019 REC meeting, delegates worked on a exercise to help define our organization’s mission statement. Similarly, at this fall’s meeting, members were able to talk about where they see our organization going in the next 10-20 years, and gathered ideas for a vision statement that will be crafted in 2021.
PROTEC17 Communications Director Deidre Girard gave an overview of the busy year for union communications, and updated delegates on upcoming projects that will implement more communication tools and member benefits. Some of these include adding discussion board functionality to the secure members-only portal, as well as the launch of an online store for PROTEC17 merchandise (more on p. 4).
At this meeting, the REC also honored long-time member-leader Shane Stull, who works for the City of Tacoma, for his immense efforts to help the Power Engineers organize into PROTEC17. Stull devoted many hours of personal time to answer the questions of these prospective members and to paint a picture of what being in PROTEC17 is all about.
“The reputation Shane has built over the years as an honest and steadfast worker advocate is the very reason PROTEC17 was approached by Tacoma Power Engineers in the first place,” said Union Representative Brent Wagar who worked with Stull and PROTEC17 Organizer Xuan-Trang Tran-Thien on the campaign.
“Shane has stood up for our members at Tacoma Public Utilities for over twenty years as a Steward,” Wagar continued. “His proven leadership is widely known and admired throughout the Tacoma Public Utility building.”
The REC awarded Stull with a certifcate and a PROTEC17 beanie for all of his hard work.
Finally, the meeting concluded with the ‘good of the order’ where member and REC guest Joel Vancil was invited to introduce and propose a resolution that committed PROTEC17 to be ready to mobilize to preserve democracy following the results of the November election. The REC adopted this resolution.