I have been called many things, grandpa, nurse, husband, brother, and some I choose not to repeat. I am retired as a RN in an emergency room at a community hospital and I serve as Executive Vice President of AFT Connecticut. This blog is about my views and my life.
Our members work hard. They have a right to expect that the money (dues) be spent prudently.
Our union does a lot of great work, and that work takes people and resources. It's not cheap. I think we all understand this.
But our members have a right to know that their dues are spent wisely. Our leadership has a duty to make sure members not only trust dues are being spent well but also can see, through tangible examples, where we spend our dues.
AFT-CT's leadership must be beholden to the Executive Committee, the membership, and the truth. That only happens when there is transparency in policies and practices.
The officers have a responsibility to inform, discuss and seek the guidance and input of the Executive Committee.
It is the elected ruling body of the union.
That is the reason we have a budget committee and a personnel committee.
The Executive Committee needs full transparencies on the reasons and the needs of expenses, organizing plans, and the need for new employee positions.
These decisions should not be made by the officers alone, nor should they be presented to the Executive Committee in a last minute, hurry up and vote, fashion.
If we want a member run union, if we want our organization to be democratic we need our highest elected council to be one which is truly informed and involved in decision making not tacked on like a bureaucratic rubber stamp.
The officers are not alone in their responsibility to transparency.
The Executive Committee has a responsibility to the membership to ensure transparency and the membership has a responsibility to demand it.
Failure at any level in this area harms our members, but also harms the Labor Movement.
Members communicate with their steward, stewards bring the issue to the local executive council, local leadership raises it at jurisdictional meetings with executive council members who bring it to the state federation and state federation officers are involved at the national level in meetings and by participating fully at our national convention.
I work in a hospital; I know failure at any stage of the work flow can compromise the whole system. We must be vigilant and demand a union which lives up to its promise at every level.
This lack of transparency is in contrast to what we stand for as a union.
There is nothing the anti union, right to work for less people want more, than a union that has even a hint of a lack of transparency to it. They will spread enough lies without our help.