Thursday, July 19, 2012

Calling all Delegates

Let's take a look at the organization of our Local.

We have an executive committee made up of myself as President, Michelle Hayes as Vice President/Chief Delegate, Melissa Hunter as Secretary, and Donna Callicutt as Treasurer.
We will set up committees for various functions, including a Negotiating Committee, Finance Committee, Elections Committee, Communication and Publicity Committee, Grievance Committee and other committees as we deem necessary. The duties and makeup of the committees are spelled out in our constitution. 

The role of the union Delegate is spelled out below, taken from our constitution. They are the communication liaisons for various areas of the hospital, getting information to the members and bringing concerns to the attention of the executive committee.

Union Delegates shall be members in good standing that shall serve as their area’s Communication Liaison. They shall be appointed by the President with the Executive Committee consent and approval. All elected Officers shall also be Union Delegates by virtue of office. Union Delegate duties shall be as follows:

 a.      Assist the grievance team in handling grievances;

 b.          Police the contract in their respective areas reporting any potential violations as they occur;

c.          Communicate to the Grievance Committee decisions, contract interpretations and results of meetings with their constituent members;

d.          Represent members upon request, in meetings with management and inform the Executive Committee and the Grievance Committee of any results of said meetings. Continue to receive and make themselves available to education regarding the latest issues facing the Union and the membership

e.          Shall be responsible for orientation of new members to enable them to function effectively in the union.

f.           Additional responsibilities include introducing all new employees to the Union insuring that they are notified that the work site is unionized and that all “prospective” members are given an opportunity to join the Union. Presentation packages, which shall include a copy of the current collective bargaining contract with a dues authorization card, shall be given to all prospective members.

Delegates are the eyes and the ears of the local, making sure the contract is not violated in the area they work.  When requested by a fellow employee, they accompany them to meetings with management when the meeting is investigatory in nature and could  lead to disciple, discharge, or effect the employees working conditions.   Delegates report back to the Grievance Committee and together, the committee, Delegate and employee decide how to handle the issue.

Delegates receive training for the role they play in service to their fellow employees.  Any costs the delegates incur as a result of their position are covered by the Local.  In addition, delegates are reimbursed 1/2 of their union dues as a thank you for their time.

It's an important role, probably the most important in the day to day life of our members, but that shouldn't scare anyone away.  Michelle Hayes is our Vice President/Chief Delegate.  The reason our Vice President is also Chief Delegate is because we recognise the importance of the Delegate role and want to give it the attention it deserves.  Michelle has served as a Delegate in the Massachusetts Nurses Association, is well trained, and will keep a close watch over her Delegates.

Many have signed up saying they would like to be a Delegate or at least learn more about it, Michelle will be contacting you.  Our first meeting for our Delegates will be August 7 at 5pm and a training will be held on August 22 at 5pm, both at the office.  If you did not sign up, but are interested in finding out more, please contact us at Backusnurses@gmail.com

Others have signed up expressing interest in various committees and Donna has spoke with some about the Finance committee.  I will be contacting you in the weeks to come. If you have anything you believe our Local should be involved in, let us know.
One idea that comes to mind is public outreach.  We have had 2 successful food drives with the United Way and one Blood Pressure check at a local church, I would like to see that continue, so if that interests you, let us know.

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn't it.  Remember, there are 400 of us.  Each person should do what they can do and what interests them, no more, no less.  I have said all along that this is our union Local and it truly is, become involved and it will be YOUR union Local.

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