I hope this newsletter finds you enjoying the start of spring. It’s time to get outside and to start moving. For those of you who are walkers, runners, or just generally enjoy being outside with your Brother and Sister members, please save the date for the second annual Health and Welfare Fund 5K – Sunday, June 11 at 9 a.m. at Medway High School. Please keep an eye on the Funds’ website, www.local4funds.org, for more information.
Congratulations to James Marenghi for his appointment as a new Union organizer. I have enjoyed getting to know Jimmy and he is going to be a terrific asset to the Union and its members. Congratulations, as well, to Chris Carey for his new role as the next Business Representative for the Worcester area. Chris has already done great things for Local 4 and will no doubt continue to thrive in this position. Chris will be taking over for Dave Dobson, who will be retiring and will be missed by everyone at the Funds Office. Dave is a class act and a world-class representative for the members. Best of luck in retirement, Dave (and hopefully you’ll understand if we “lose” your retirement paperwork to force you to stick around a bit longer).
The theme of this issue has been the staff behind the scenes at Local 4, and I want to thank and applaud Business Manager Bill McLaughlin for taking the opportunity to put the spotlight on these hard-working and dedicated professionals. The Funds Office is similarly blessed with an extraordinarily talented group that has dedicated their professional lives to serving you, your families, and this great local.
Becky Zaccardi is an outstanding CPA, and as our Operations and Accounting Manager, she helps me with oversight of the contributions that come in from your employers, the investments that fund the Plans, and the payments that are made on your behalf for your medical claims and to fund your annuity accounts. Becky also works on the programming that ensures that you are getting proper credit for your eligibility and pension credits.
Becky works closely with Wendy Batchelder, our Contributions Manager, and Office Manager. Wendy does a fantastic job with painstaking and vital work. Wendy oversees the department that processes the contributions that employers remit for your payroll hours – sometimes millions of dollars in a day. Her department then makes sure that those contributions are correctly allocated to each of our participants. Wendy oversees the work of Jessica Williams, Luke Rodrigues, and Sharon Guerra, all of whom have joined us in the last few years and who have been great additions to the team.
If an employer fails to remit your contributions on time, that’s where Don Christy comes in. Don is the Collections Manager and if you’ve ever been short on your eligibility, pension credits, or your annuity account because your employer failed to remit everything owed, you have undoubtedly worked with Don. Don works with every one of Local 4’s employers – and if necessary, with our legal counsel – to make sure that you are receiving every penny you have earned for your hard work. As of a couple of years ago, Don has been aided by Derek Oetinger, an accountant, who has been tenacious in his auditing and collection of unpaid amounts and a wonderful advocate and resource for Local 4’s members. We are very fortunate to have them both under our roof.
Laura-Jean Hickey is our Assistant Administrator, and she helps me with the general day-to-day administration of the Funds Office. But if you’ve worked with Laura-Jean, it’s likely in her role overseeing the Eligibility Department. Laura- Jean and her team, Amy Boisvert and Meredith Genatossio, handle all your questions regarding eligibility, COBRA, buy-in plans, and pharmacy appeals, and Laura-Jean works closely with Blue Cross Blue Shield and CVS to make sure any issues you have are effectively resolved. Laura- Jean, Amy, and Meredith are dedicated and compassionate advocates, and they will uncover every stone to assist participants and their families.
Laura-Jean also works with our newest staff member, social worker Karen Larsen, to find ways to better help our participants and dependents with mental health and wellness needs.
If you have retired recently, you have undoubtedly worked with Ashley Zaccardi (the new mother of daughter Lainey – congrats!) and Julia Galarza. They understand that retirement can be a confusing and potentially stressful process, and they take the time to answer every question and to make sure that every detail is covered. Pensions are not an easy business, but Local 4 has two caring and thoughtful professionals working hard for them.
And if you have taken a loan or distribution from your Annuity account of late, you have worked with Kristen Fitzgerald. Kristen came to us with a great knowledge of defined contributions plans, and she uses that knowledge – and her fierce determination – to help participants navigate their retirement accounts.
Last, but by no means least, is the man who is truly behind the scenes, Jim Burns. As our IT Director and Security Officer, Jim is behind everything we do at the Funds Office. He keeps the systems running that allow us to serve you – the phones, computers, printers, copiers, and everything else that plugs in. Jim works tirelessly to ensure that our network is secure and that we are doing everything humanly possible to protect your private information.