Monday, September 26, 2011

Get involved, make us strong!

Recently I have attended several meetings with management and human resources to act as union representative for member nurses. This is to protect their rights under a 1975 Supreme Court ruling in the case of J. Weingarten, Inc.
These rights have become known as Weingarten Rights and very briefly they state that a union member has the right to representation during an investigatory interview.
There is a much better explanation at weingarten.htm
I urge you to study it.
More recently a couple of these meetings have been scheduled during times I was working, leading one of the involved members to ask if management had my schedule and were trying to make it difficult for me to attend.
While I can't answer the second part of that question, I can guarantee that they have all of our schedules. We are working on these time conflicts and are not without recourse.
It brings up a very important point.
I, nor any other person is the union, WE are the union, almost 450 strong. If one of us in unavailable, another will step in. We are in the beginning phases of training more people to be comfortable as union representatives. Ideally, everyone willing to do so, will be trained, comfortable, and capable. We hope that other members will step up to fill roles that suit them, such as public outreach.
The underlying point is this - our union is strong only to the extent that our members are involved.
We are an organization who's power lies in the members. We will all vote on our contract, bylaws, constitution, and officers.
Our officers will handle the day to day activities, they will lead, but we, the members, will direct.
I know you've heard this before.
Every management says it.
All I can say is, come and see for yourself.
At the latest negotiations we had a discussion with some salary nurses about how we would address their salaries in our wages proposal.
This is how. We will get together as many salary nurses as we can and they will craft a proposal.
Because they are in the best position to do so. Why should someone who doesn't completely understand their issues make decisions for them?
If it makes sense we can have a standing salary RN committee to deal with their specific concerns and we can have other such groups as the needs arise.
Our strength lies in our numbers and level of involvement.
Management derives it's power from the fact that they sign our paychecks.
We derive our power by the strength of our collective membership. If we do not exercise that collective power then we forfeit it.
Get involved, make us strong!

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