Our Most Important Member: YOU!
(This article first appeared in the May-June 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)
Organizing is not just about signing up new members – it’s joining with current members to ensure common success. Our camaraderie and solidarity will also motivate non-members to join the union.
Management will try to take advantage of any dissension among union members. Postal bosses take note of whether the membership is engaged and active or passive and disengaged. Managers look for every weakness they can find. Let’s show them our strength.
Union meetings are the place to air our differences, not on the workroom floor and definitely not in front of management. We might disagree, as any family does, but when one of us is wronged, we must defend each other. That’s the union way.
The reasons to join the union are as numerous as our membership. Some include:
- Using solidarity to fight bad policies
- Strengthening the labor movement
- Wanting to pay our fair share
But we also must make sure our current members understand what we, as a union, accomplish together.
It costs money to run a union. Without dues, there would be no money for contract negotiations. Consider these less obvious costs:
- Stopping contract violations
- Overturning wrongful discipline
- Training stewards and officers
Without trained and dedicated representatives, we would be subject to the whims of management. Without our union, we would be defenseless.
The benefits that result from our modest union dues are vast. We fought tooth and nail for better wages, hours and working conditions; annual and sick leave; seniority rights; overtime pay and rules to determine who works it, and paid holidays.
Consider the costs of being an “at will’ employee. With no job security, you would be subject to immediate discharge, suppressed wages, and no paid sick leave. If you were victimized by your employer, your only recourse would be to hire a lawyer, only to be faced by an army of corporate attorneys. Being a union member ensures you never have to go it alone.
Some people claim the union has never helped them. That is not only false, it is impossible. All of our benefits, wages and working conditions have been bargained for and are constantly being defended. Contract negotiations are underway. If a tentative agreement is reached, we will vote to approve or reject it.
Our Organizing Efforts
The following locals have obtained the ultimate goal of 100 percent membership since June 2014, bringing our total up to 95 locals that are completely organized: Morehead City Local, Rawlins Local, Oskaloosa Local, Marengo Local, Williamstown Local, Thief River Falls Local, Elkins Local, Findlay Local, Kaukauna Local, Barre Local, Mt Pleasant Local, Mountain Home Local, Walla Walla Local, North East Ohio Local, Wahiawa Local, Jasper Local, Passaic Local, Daly City Local, Fort Dodge Local, and Dubuque Local.
Congratulations to all!
We kicked off 2015 strong. After two-and-a-half months, 450 locals signed up 3,844 new bargaining unit members. Thank you to everyone for your successful organizing efforts!
The Organization Department
wants to hear from you.
In each article, I will ask a question. Please respond with your thoughts. Responses will be published in future articles.
This month’s question: What does union power mean to you?
Please send your answers to: Organization Department, 1300 L Street NW, Washington DC 20005, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to include your name and local with your comments.