Class of 2017 Apprentice Graduates: Front Row Left to Right: Tracy Coats, Angela Friend, Amber Williams, Kevin Bonnett; Back Row Left to Right: Andrew Seals and Tanner Stout
Tracy Coats Degree
A Laborers’ apprenticeship is not only a decent career path, it’s also a higher education path. Tracy Coats, who completed her Laborers apprenticeship in November 2017, also completed an Associates degree at Heartland Community College in December. The community college recognized her Laborers training hours as equivalent to college credit. Coats had to take extra classes in math, English and science to gain her Associate’s degree. She completed those classes at Illinois Central College. “I wanted an Associate’s Degree,” she said. “I had the hour, I had to take a few extra classes. I’m hoping this will push me toward other opportunities, along with the combined experience in my field.” Coats said she enjoys outdoor work; “Laborers work is different all the time; I’m not an inside person,” she noted. She worked on pipelines and a variety of other projects. Laborers Local 231 business manager Bob Schroeder commended Coats. “Going through a successful apprenticeship takes self-initiative and a willingness to tackle different kinds of work. Tracy Coats went above and beyond that, using her Laborer apprenticeship hours to complete this degree. That shows initiative and a worker willing to go the extra mile. This makes Laborers 231 proud. She is an asset for any contractor who engages her.”
Re: Janus vs AFSCME: There is no sugar coating it. The Supreme Court's June 27, 2018 decision in Janus vs AFSCME is a bad loss (with one surprising twist, noted below). The Court overruled the long-standing and well-established public sector rule permitting the assessment of agency or "fair share" fees to address the free rider problem and to promote stable labor relations. We believe the Court's stated reasons for reversing this carefully balanced treatment of the rights of objecting employees and the rights of the majority of employees to be intellectually bankrupt. It is also a political rather than judicial product. Every Republican-appointed Justice voted against the union position; every Democratic-appointed Justice voted for the union position. But that conversation is for another day. The current task is to provide guidance on some questions our public sector affiliates may have in the wake of the decision. Because of the great interest, we address this letter to all affiliates - those representing only private sector workers as well as those in the public sector. However, to be clear, the Janus decision is addressed only to the public sector.