Friday, October 31, 2014

Our members are our strength

They say you can judge a person by the relationship they have with the people around them. Certainly, this is true in the relationship between a union president and their executive board. The president is expected to lead, but the president is not the "expert." Surrounding oneself with competent, reliable people makes a president's job so so much easier.

I am one lucky president.

My executive board of Melissa, Donna 1 and Donna 2, Marji, Michelle, Jess, and Carol, are backed up by a great team of delegates.  They are my council, my strength, and my direction.
Yoda said, "A Jedi's strength flows from the force."  If that be true, then the membership is the force of the union and that force flows through the delegates and eboard.
And like in the mythical Camelot, we strive for a round table, where each is an equal.
Many a time, their wise council will change my mind, and when it does not, the eboard is not afraid to overrule me, as is their right as constitutionally elected officers.
I do not like being over ruled, but I accept that the process is there for a very important reason. (and they're usually right)
My friend Jan says it this way. Our organization is an "upside-down pyramid."
The members are at the top, the eboard in the middle, and the president at the bottom.

Melissa is by right hand, she is more than capable of representing the membership in any meeting she attends. As VP and Chief Delegate, she also handles grievances and the delegates report to her. She is also handling workplace assaults.
Donna 1 has made us financially stable as our treasurer, she is truly a steward of the members dues.
Marji followed Donna 2 in the role of Secretary and is responsible for keeping up with the ebb and flow of members as they come and go from Backus. They have both done a remarkable job.  
Carol is the best political Liaison ever. Her knowledge level is remarkable and her relationship with those in power serves us well.
Michelle was VP until family obligations forced her to step back, but she is now handling workplace staffing and Ebola prep, and will head up our negotiations committee.  
Jess keeps watch over Plainfield and serves as adviser to me.

The delegates represent their floors and units, representing members in meetings and on grievances.
One of them, Dave, has taken over the newsletter, and is doing a great job.

With all these people doing all this, you may ask, "What do you do John?"
Somehow I keep busy, mostly with issues in the community, the state federation and statehouse, and the national. Every time someone takes over a role, a new one seems to come along. That's OK, because it makes our union stronger.

But what really makes us stronger is our members, because the union is not me or the ebaord, or someone off in Rocky Hill or Washington.  That's the leadership, it's not the union.  The union is you, and you, and you and all of us, standing together as one.  
That is our strength.

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