IAM Local 447 on strike at country nissan

The International Association of Machinists Local Lodge 447 has organized seven technicians and three car detailers at Country Nissan in Hadley. To frustrate their efforts for a first contract, the company has committed unfair Read more

A Textbook Example of a Campaign to Destroy a Union

Via inthesetimes.com If you’d like a sense of what a boss’s campaign to try to destroy a union looks like in the 21st century, take a look at a recent NLRB decision against the University Read more

IAM Honors Veterans, Introduces New Veterans Services Program

This Veterans Day in the U.S. and Remembrance Day in Canada, Tuesday, November 11, 2014, the IAM honors our members in the armed forces who are serving and have served our nations. “Thousands of IAM Read more

IAM Local 447 on strike at country nissan

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Local 264 members traveled to Hadley MA to show support for the newly organized workers on strike.

Local 264 members traveled to Hadley MA to show support for the newly organized workers on strike.

The International Association of Machinists Local Lodge 447 has organized seven technicians and three car detailers at Country Nissan in Hadley. To frustrate their efforts for a first contract, the company has committed unfair labor practices, including a sharp reduction in hours as well as unnecessary disciplinary actions. On Saturday November 15th over a hundred union brothers and sisters from IAM Locals 264, 447, 743, 1420, 1871, and retirees.  Also members from IBEW Local 103, SEIU, UFWC, MA Nurses Association, MA Teachers, Jobs with Justice, students from UMass and MA AFL-CIO President Steve Tolaman all came out to show their support for these workers on the picket line. The great turnout on Saturday is just proof that when one union member is being taken advantage of it is crucial that all union members stand with them and fight injustice in the workplace.


A Textbook Example of a Campaign to Destroy a Union

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In a major victory for workers, a judge has ruled that the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center engaged in illegal anti-union behavior. (Mark Haller / Flickr)

Via inthesetimes.com

If you’d like a sense of what a boss’s campaign to try to destroy a union looks like in the 21st century, take a look at a recent NLRB decision against the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).

On Friday, a judge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that the UPMC has engaged in a series of discriminatory practices against workers who have been trying to organize a union since 2012.

In the wide-ranging 123-page decision, one can see how a sophisticated anti-union campaign is run. The decision outlines in detail how the multi-billion dollar Pittsburgh hospital chain repeatedly violated the law in order to sow fear of organizing. Employees were surveilled and photographed, interrogated and threatened with discipline and arrest. Four were fired.  The decision also found that UPMC helped create and support a “company union”— an employer-dominated labor organization—in violation of federal law.

With more than 20 hospitals, 400 outpatient sites, more than 62,000 employees, and a health insurance division that had $10 billion in operating revenue in 2013, UPMC is the largest private sector employer in Pennsylvania.

In 2012, the nonclinical support staff at two of UPMC’s hospitals began an organizing campaign through the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which would include approximately 3,500 workers. The employer began violating workers’ rights almost immediately, launching an anti-union campaign that often straddled the line between legal and illegal.

In addition to the captive audience meetings that have become a standard (and legal) anti-union practice—in which the employer explains in no uncertain terms that it is against the employees organizing—UPMC sought to create an environment of fear and intimidation. The hospital chain posted a document on its internal website called “UPMC Cares,” which contained sections such as “Why Unions Aren’t Necessary.”

When the organizing drive began, UPMC placed screensavers on employees’ computers throughout the hospital which scrolled through anti-union messages such as “You can say NO to the SEIU. It’s your right”; as one walked around the hospital, idle computers displayed in all caps, “NO” and “SEIU.”

Though these practices are technically legal, employees cannot miss the overwhelming message that their employer does not agree with their right to unionize. The judge found that while the behavior was legal, it was proof of the employer’s open opposition to the union, which provided context for the other illegal activity that the company engaged in like firings as a result of union activity.

The company also created what it called the Environmental Support Services Employee Council (ESS), which the NLRB judge found to be an illegal company union. Though the company tried to argue that the ESS was an employee-run organization, the judge found that the company was pulling the strings. UPMC made the decision to create the group, helped write the group’s bylaws, solicited volunteers to participate, determined the date and time for meetings, provided the facilities, and offered information and assistance.

The judge also found that the group constituted a union, because it dealt with terms and conditions of employment—which is reserved for labor organizations. The ESS continued a long tradition of company unions that were prevalent in the late-19th to mid-20th centuries, where companies would establish these employer-friendly labor organizations to temper workers’ demands.

While supporting the company union, UPMC made it clear that workers could not engage in any real union activity. UPMC engaged in surveillance of the employees’ private conversations, told them that they could not talk to union organizers even on their own time and threatened to arrest employees who were engaging in lawful union activities. For example, when employees were meeting union organizers for lunch at the hospital cafeteria, hospital security demanded to see everyone’s identification and then called 911 to have the police escort them off the premises. The cafeteria is open to the general public, which means that anyone could meet there for any reason—except to discuss labor organizing, which is a clear form of discrimination.

On a day-to-day basis, UPMC engaged in threatening behavior to any employee who had the nerve to lawfully support the union. The judge also found that UPMC interrogated employees about their union activities and threatened to fire them if they refused to answer. Managers approached employees who were lawfully wearing union insignia and reminded them that their evaluations were coming up while staring pointedly at their union buttons and lanyards. This practice had the desired effect of warning employees that their evaluations would suffer as a result of their support for the union.

These threats were not idle. During the course of the organizing campaign, UPMC fired four workers for supporting the union. One of these workers was actually fired twice: He was reinstated after a settlement between UPMC and SEIU, only to be fired again a short time later for still supporting the union. The judge found all of these terminations to be illegal, and ordered that the workers be reinstated and receive back pay.

Having found that UPMC “engaged in such egregious and widespread misconduct so as to demonstrate a general disregard for employees’ statutory rights,” the judge issued a broad order requiring UPMC to cease its illegal activity. The judge mandated that his order be read to UPMC’s nonclinical staff who have been trying to organize and that it be posted for 60 days.

This case represents a major win for the workers trying to organize at UPMC. However, the Board should go one step further and seek a 10(j) injunction in federal court.

These injunctions, designed to stop bosses’ egregious or repetitive illegal behavior, are enforced in federal court rather than the slower and less powerful administrative process, which means that the workers could receive immediate relief if UPMC follows its pattern of disregarding the workers’ rights.

The NLRB General Counsel has repeatedly issued memos affirming that 10(j) injunctions are appropriate in cases that involve discharges during an organizing campaign. “The touchstone is always whether there is a threat of remedial failure,” noted a memo from the counsel this year.

The details of the judge’s decision illustrate a textbook pattern of this “remedial failure,” with UPMC continuing to engage in discriminatory conduct even when a settlement was in place with the union. If the General Counsel chooses to take this judge’s decision and then seek a 10(j) injunction, it would let employers know that the law has teeth and they cannot openly disregard workers’ rights. More importantly, it would provide the workers at UPMC, who have repeatedly suffered discrimination in the workplace, a major tool to push back.

Update: In response to the NLRB judgment, UPMC sent a special, brief single-story edition of UPMC Extra!, its in-house newsletter, by email to all UPMC employees. “We are disappointed by the administrative law judge’s decision, and disagree with his findings,” the hospital stated. “We believe the record fully supported our actions with regard to under-­performing employees and failed SEIU organizing efforts in which our employees have shown little to no interest, despite their three­-year public and legal campaign against our hospital.”

The statement then quoted conservative federal judge Arthur Schwab, stating that the “NLRB has become “the litigation arm of the union, and a co­participant in the ongoing organization effort.” UPMC said it “will explore all of our legal options to fight this unfair decision.”

IAM Honors Veterans, Introduces New Veterans Services Program

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11_10_2014_iamveteranslogoThis Veterans Day in the U.S. and Remembrance Day in Canada, Tuesday, November 11, 2014, the IAM honors our members in the armed forces who are serving and have served our nations.

“Thousands of IAM members have proudly served their country. And many fight on two battlefields – the ongoing fight here at home for fairness and respect on the job and the many fights abroad to ensure peace and freedom for people around the world,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “They are our heroes for many reasons. And we thank them for their courage, dedication and willingness to be on the frontlines for our countries and our members.”

In recognition of the honorary holiday, the IAM Retirees, Community and Membership Services Department has announced the IAM Veterans Services Program, which features an online information portal dedicated solely to IAM military veterans in the U.S. and Canada.

“As a union, the IAM recognizes the unique situation and needs of our members who have dedicated their lives to their country,” said 20-year Army veteran and IAM Retirees, Community and Membership Services Director Carlos San Miguel. “We believe it is our duty to help and be of service to those members in any way we can. There is an abundance of public and private programs and services open to military veterans; the problem is very few veterans know what’s available and where to go. The IAM Veterans Services Program seeks to bridge the informational gap between our members and the programs and services they fought for.”

The webpage provides information from various public and private military assistance agencies and organizations such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and the Veterans Affairs Canada. Members can find information on many topics, including government programs, benefits, health information and assistance with filing claims.

The information is open to IAM members from all branches of the U.S. and Canadian militaries, including the National Guard and Reserves.

Part of the IAM Veterans Services Program will also include a weeklong planning session at the William W. Winpisinger Center from March 29 – April 3, 2015, where representatives from each IAM Territory and all branches of service will convene to begin crafting coursework and various IAM programs to help meet members’ needs.

“As the nation prepares for a day of remembrance and celebration of the men and women who risk their lives in service to our country, the IAM stands committed to continuing to explore more ways to serve those among us who have sacrificed so others may live freely,” said IAM General Vice President Diane Babineaux.

IAM military veterans are encouraged to sign up to receive more information about the union’s veteran program. Please note that the sign-up form is voluntary.

Join the ‘Stop Fast Track’ Week of Action Nov. 8-14

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The IAM will be joining labor and other trade and advocacy organizations in a week-long push to stop Congress from passing “Fast Track Trade Authority” for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement – a secret deal negotiated behind closed doors by government bureaucrats and more than 600 corporate lobbyists.

The #StopFastTrack Week of Action will take place November 8-14, 2014.

Contacting Congress is the critical first step. Start now by telling Congress to vote NO on Fast Track for the TPP.

During the week of action, IAM members are also encouraged to attend rallies and community forums in their areas, write Letters to the Editor and send sample Tweets with the #StopFastTrack hashtag.

The legislation, known as the “Camp-Baucus Fast Track” bill, would limit the ability of Congress to meaningfully debate and amend trade agreements like the TPP – effectively pushing the bill through with just an up or down vote.

The week of action comes as President Obama and other heads of state head to Asia in an attempt to push the TPP agreement forward. It also comes as the Lame Duck session of Congress gets underway, with various Congressional leaders already calling for Fast Track legislation to be considered.

“It is a time of year when a lot of people take a break after the elections, and start getting ready for the holidays, such that political accountability is very low,” says Arthur Stamoulis, Executive Director of the Citizens Trade Campaign. “We need your help remaining vigilant so that Fast Track does not sneak through then or in early 2015.”

TPP threatens everything working families care about: democracy, jobs, the environment and the internet.

Just like NAFTA, it has the potential to destroy hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs, erode workers’ rights, undermine Buy American laws and ignore environmental protections. Worse, TPP negotiations are being conducted in total secrecy.

“It’s time our nation’s leaders support trade rules that work for America’s working families,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “We need trade policies that create jobs here at home, not overseas; trade policies that improve working conditions and strengthen workers’ rights; uphold and strengthen ‘Buy American’ laws; protect the rights of sovereign governments to make policies in the public interest and transparency throughout the entire negotiation process.”

“The IAM encourages all our members to take part in this important week of action,” said Buffenbarger.

For more on the #StopFastTrack Week of Action, visit the website at StopFastTrack.com.

For now, take action – Tell Congress to vote NO on Fast Track for the TPP today.

Election Results ‘Will Not Weaken Our Resolve’

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Tuesday’s elections brought disappointing results for union members and working families, but voters went out of their way to support minimum wage initiatives in numerous states.

While the GOP took control of the U.S. Senate and widened its majority in the House, voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota overwhelmingly passed minimum wage increases. Four ballot initiatives supporting paid sick days also passed.

“The results of this election will not weaken our resolve,” said IAMAW International President Buffenbarger. “We will continue to fight for our members and their families in Congress and in statehouses around the country.”


Robert W. Alley, Sr., a member of the newly-formed IAM Maine Lobstering Union, was one of many union members to be elected Tuesday.

“Given our early successes at the statehouse acting collectively as a newly-formed union, I had a new found faith in the idea of government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” said Alley, who will represent Maine’s 138th House District, a collection of seaside communities on the state’s northeastern coast. “I then decided to take it to the next level – we were going to have our own lawmaker at the statehouse working hard not only for Lobstermen, but for all working families in Maine. More union members need to run for public office. We can win and I’m living proof.”

“The labor movement is finding out that many of our so-called friends in government have forgotten that friendship is a two-way street,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President Lynn Tucker, Jr. “This is how we change that, this is how you change your government – you take their jobs.”

Job Growth, but NO raises

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The employment report for October, released on Friday, reflects a steady-as-she-goes economy. And that is a problem, because for most Americans, more of the same is not good enough. Since the recovery began in mid-2009, inflation-adjusted figures show that the economy has grown by 12 percent; corporate profits, by 46 percent; and the broad stock market, by 92 percent. Median household income has contracted by 3 percent.

Against that backdrop, the economic challenge is to reshape the economy in ways that allow a fair share of economic growth to flow into worker pay. The October report offers scant evidence that this challenge is being met. Worse, the legislative agenda of the new Republican congressional majority, including corporate tax cuts and more deficit reduction, would reinforce rather than reverse the lopsided status quo.

The economy added 214,000 jobs last month, in line with its performance over the past year. Consistent growth is certainly better than backsliding, but growth is still too slow: At the current pace, it will take until March 2018 for employment to return to its pre-recession level of health.

Even then, more jobs would not necessarily mean higher pay. Updated figures by the National Employment Law Project, a labor-advocacy group, show that about 40 percent of the private-sector jobs created in the last five years have paid hourly wages of $9.50 to $13, and 25 percent have paid between $13 and $20. Those findings are underscored by the new jobs report, which shows that nearly all of the private-sector job gains were in restaurants, retail stores, temporary work, health care and other low-to-moderate-paying fields.

Wages have barely kept up with inflation for several years running, and there are no economic or political forces to push them up. Working people can make more when employers bump up hours, which in October averaged a post-recession high of 34.6 hours a week. Workers also will see their paychecks go further as gas prices fall. But they are not getting ahead in any real sense.

None of this was inevitable. When the private sector is unable or unwilling to create good jobs at good pay, government is supposed to use stimulus to spur employment. It is also the job of government to enact and enforce polices like robust minimum wages and legal protections for union organizing. But the 2009 stimulus, too small to begin with, was offset by federal spending cuts beginning in 2011, while job-enhancing policies have gone nowhere, in large part because of Republican opposition.

Other forces that undermine broad prosperity bear examination. Trade with nations that manipulate their currency, exploit workers and damage the environment to gain unfair advantages costs Americans jobs. An outsized financial sector feeds bubbles and busts that devastate employment. Republican leaders have identified new trade deals and less financial regulation as priorities, but a heedless push on those fronts ignores the negative job-related consequences.

The economy is not working for those who rely on paychecks to make a living, which is to say, almost everyone. Steady gains in the October jobs report, while welcome, do not change that basic fact. Nor will policies currently on the horizon.

Thank you to the volunteers for the standouts in Quincy & Charlestown

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Thank you to all the 264 members that took time out of their day to hold signs in Quincy and Charlestown in support of Martha Coakley, Steve Kerrigan, Maura Healey and Vote NO on Question 3.  We have one more standout next MONDAY NOVEMBER 3rd. PLEASE, PLEASE join us for the last standout before the election, We need to make one last big push with around 50 people between Quincy and Charlestown from 3 – 5pm. For Charlestown contact Jeb Mastandrea 617-913-9198 or Bob Walker 617-827-9415. For Quincy contact Jim Mastandrea 508-274-3235 or Dave Fetherston 617-593-7934.

This election next week will have a huge effect on all of MA and certainly all members that work at the MBTA.  Martha, Steve and Maura will all support working families and the issues that we all face as well as all middle class families across the Commonwealth.  A NO vote on Question 3 has a direct impact on a roughly 150 Machinist Union 264 and 447 jobs at the Plainville racetrack and slot parlor. This also will have a good economic boost to Everett and Springfield in the form of thousands of jobs and revenue for the state to invest in things like infrastructure, schools etc.


Charlie Baker is set to wage all out war on Unions.

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Local 264 MEMBERS, FAMILIES AND FRIENDS MUST get out the vote to secure our FUTURE against Charlie Baker.

Charlie Baker became a name in politics in 1992, the month he turned 36, when he took over as secretary of Health and Human Services—the largest department in state government—thanks to then-Governor Bill Weld. He is the son of a well-connected Republican who had worked in the Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan administrations. He has undergrad degree from Harvard and MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, and married to the daughter of a Fortune 500 CEO.

He helped draft and push policy as the co-director of the conservative think tank, The Pioneer Institute which was created in part by Baker’s dad.  The Pioneer Institute wrote this in June 2013 about Local 264 workers . The Pioneer Institute was targeting both Massachusetts Sen. Marc Pacheco and the Machinists. The statements in this blatantly misleading article were studied and countered with the real facts which were pointed out on truthout.org right here by Ellen Dannin who is a Fannie Weiss Distinguished Faculty Scholar and professor of law at the Dickinson School of Law at Penn State University, and an expert in the labor law of New Zealand and the United States.

He wants to make government leaner, less unionized, and more business-friendly. This philosophy served him and his bank account well in his 10 years running Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, but not the workers or their families where he shut down the provider’s Rhode Island operations, leaving some 1,200 people out of work and 128,000 people  without health insurance. During his 2010 campaign, Baker said he would do the same for state government.

Now, cuts to state spending aren’t spelled out in his platform—they’re implied. Baker has ruled out new taxes and called for revenue cuts—at the same time proposing significant increases to local aid and at least two dozen new expenses. It sounds like a promise to taxpayers that they can have their cake and eat it, too—but Baker points out that Coakley has proposed far more expensive programs (for example, universal pre-kindergarten). His plans will require deep cuts in government jobs.


Reduce construction costs by increasing competition –  Between $75M to $100M in savings

Public construction projects should be open to all bidders. Competition is important to ensure the best deal for the taxpayers. Only 20 percent of the construction industry is comprised of union workers, therefore project labor agreements exclude 80 percent of the market from bidding on projects. Several studies estimate that PLAs add at least 12 percent to overall project costs. This is significant considering that the state spends nearly $1 billion per year on capital construction projects plus another $600 million in municipal aid for the School Building Assistance program.

End union control of public contracts – Between $75M to $100M in savings

The Pacheco Law, passed in 1993, is the strictest-in-the-nation anti-privatization policy. The law severely limits the state’s ability to provide cost-effective services by allowing unions full control on the delivery. This law has required the government to perform services well beyond its core mission because all contracts over $500,000 for outside entities to provide services must be reviewed and approved by the State Auditor. The Auditor uses restrictive legislative conditions when reviewing the outside contracts. Absent repealing this law, these restrictions must be modified to allow for greater flexibility in making determinations.

Many states have used competitive bidding to save money and improve services. For example, Florida has used competitive sourcing more than 130 times, saving more than $740 million. These are opportunities for Massachusetts too. Examples include:

  • Highway maintenance
  • IT infrastructure
  • Vehicle fleet management
  • Medicaid billing
  • Toll collections
  • Professional licensing
  • Maintenance in state parks
  • Building management and maintenance
  • Parking garage operations

Click on an issue to read more on how Charlie Baker stands on it:

Project Labor Agreements

Pacheco Law

Health Care Costs

Collective Bargaining

Unemployment Insurance

Prevailing Wage




Local 264 members, protect your job, your families well being, and pension and keep this Bill Weld clone OUT OF OFFICE,


Anti-Privatization protest by Local 264 members outside Fellsway Bus Garage during the Bill Weld days. Remember Charlie Baker wants to do the same as his former mentor/boss Bill Weld.

A note from President Mastandrea

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Thank you to all the Local 264 members that took time to show up to a very important meeting this morning for the contract proposals and the nominations and subsequent election of your negotiating committee.

As always solidarity and being involved and informed are our best assets. It is very important to become and remain involved in what this great local does. This is your union and we are strongest when we all are working for the same goals that benefit everyone. Todays showing by the membership shows that we are ready for the challenges we face in the upcoming negotiations.

Congratulations to the Negotiating Committee Members.
Pat Desmond
Pete Mandile
Will Foley
Charlie Long

In Solidarity,
Jim Mastandrea

10-year-old Guide Dog Retires with Honors

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Faith, a 10-year-old guide dog, stands with her recipient Christian at the Guide Dogs of America facility in Sylmar, CA. Christian made the difficult decision to retire Faith after her eight years of service.

Faith, a 10-year-old guide dog, stands with her recipient Christian at the Guide Dogs of America facility in Sylmar, CA. Christian made the difficult decision to retire Faith after her eight years of service.

A 10-year-old guide dog was recently given a retirement and homecoming party to remember.

Faith, a black Labrador Retriever, is described by her raiser as a “special puppy.” She served her recipient Christian well for eight years. They had a very special relationship, says Guide Dogs of America (GDA) Puppy Department Manager Louise Henderson.

After Faith’s many years of service, Christian made the difficult decision to retire her. It was then that Amy Lyen, the woman who raised Faith, began her trip to bring Faith home from Orange County, CA to Portland, OR.

When she and Faith reached the Orange County airport, they were given red carpet treatment.

“Within a minute an Alaska Airlines employee rushed over and asked if we were going to Portland and if the dog was Faith,” said Lyen. “Each employee was quite emotional about the sacrifice that Christian has made in letting Faith retire and about the work that Faith has done. Before I knew it, the terminal had an announcement going over the general P.A. system that they were paging Faith and I. They went on and explained Faith’s history to the entire terminal and invited her up to the gate.”

“Our walk over to the gate was met with a standing ovation,” continued Lyen. “At the gate, the flight crew and gate agents were overcome with emotion as they proclaimed that this was Faith’s retirement party. They gave her a fresh flower lei, a gift bag of toys, a goody and took pictures. Then they honored her by letting us have special boarding. The flight crew was stumbling over each other to be the first to offer help, greet Faith, and talk to me to hear more about the program. Everybody on the flight was excited to have us onboard. There were few dry eyes on the plane.”

“We would like to thank all of the people at Alaska Airlines for making this day special for everyone involved,” said GDA Director Dale Hartford. “As you can see, our Puppy Raisers and graduates are very special people who truly understand and value the relationship between the blind or visually-impaired person and their canine partner. On behalf of her recipient Christian, we congratulate Faith on her retirement and thank her for her many years of service.”

“We commend Guide Dogs of America and the folks at Alaska Airlines for making this occasion so special,” said IAM Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “Faith is retiring from an extraordinary organization. We thank her for her many years of service and wish her and Amy a happy, healthy and long retirement. ”

A guide dog’s working life is about six to eight years. They begin working at about 2 1/2 years old. When it is time to retire a guide dog, the guide dog user has the choice to keep the dog as a pet, give it to a family member, or return the dog to GDA. Returned guide dogs are put into the GDA Adoption Program, which first contacts the dog’s original Puppy Raisers and ask if they wish to adopt the dog.

If they do not, the guide dog is given to a prescreened individual from a waiting list. Currently there is a four to six year wait to adopt a “career change” dog or retired guide dog.