You can help “Stamp Out Hunger” by joining with the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) union on Saturday, May 9, in its 23rd annual food drive—the largest one-day food drive in the nation. Last year, letter carriers collected more than 72 million pounds of food. Since the annual drive began in 1992, more than 1.3 billion […]Read More
The true source of our union’s power has always been our membership.Join Us in the Fight
The UWUA is taking a stand that may change the direction of politics in our nation. National Union President Mike Langford called on all union members to, “Join me in the fight to build worker power, build political power, and build the economic power we need to take back our country from those who seek to destroy it and the hard-working men and women who built it!”
This call to action comes in response to the passage of the “right-to-work” (for less) law signed by Michigan’s corporately owned Governor Rick Snyder. “‘Right-to-work’ legislation is a blatant attack on working families intended to weaken the strength we hold in unity and in numbers,” Langford pointed out. “Each and every one of us can expect far less in wages and benefits, with a weak voice in our workplace and at the bargaining table,” if the corporate legislative effort to undercut unions gains more ground.
Our democracy is at stake
The Michigan attack on workers’ rights was not an isolated incident. Similar bills are advancing throughout the midwest and eastern states. Meanwhile, public employee bargaining rights are being gutted. The Supreme Court is threatening voting rights for people, while opening the floodgates of corporate money to fund the campaigns they like. Currently, legislators are monkeying with state Electoral College rules, so that district lines newly drawn by Tea Party types who won seats in 2010, can be used to tip the 2016 presidential election to the Republicans.
With democracy itself at stake, the UWUA is taking dramatic steps.
Michigan’s UWUA locals took part in a conference call with the National Union on December 19. They committed to taking on the task of educating and discussing issues with every member and their families, including every retiree.
The goal is to encourage greater participation and personal activism throughout the union by developing communication structures within each local union to provide regular, meaningful two-way discussion with each and every member. This is how more setbacks like the Michigan mess can be headed off.
Communication is key
Studies have shown that the best form of communication isn’t e-mail, cell phone, or texting. It’s face-to-face, one-one, member-to-member encounters. This approach can build a strong connection inside the union, to lay the basis for longterm, effective work that the politicians’ scorched earth policy makes necessary.
Meetings at the end of January in Mt. Pleasant and Dearborn, MI, got the ball rolling. The facts were presented regarding the Snyder law – how it works, and its immediate effect on organizing and bargaining rights.
Members of Michigan locals discussed the need to improve internal communication in the union – including members’ complaints and misunderstandings. The membership needs to be aware, informed, and ready to roll.
This new action network links local leaders with all members through a member action coordinator in every union unit. The coordinator works with member action organizers. Each organizer, who can be a steward or an informal leader, is responsible for keeping in touch with five to 20 co-workers. Every union member is part of this network.
How the network is set up
At the local level, the program is directed by a union officer or their surrogate. This is the program controller, whose responsibilities include:
- organizing structure
- assigning tasks
- identifying monthly topics for discussion/action
- developing needed materials
- distributing materials to action coordinators
- evaluating program results regularly for the local and national, and
- striving for continuous improvement.
Every local unit has a member action coordinator, who reports to the program controller. This role is tasked to the bargaining committee chairperson or a key local leader in worksites with 100 members or more.
The coordinator’s responsibilities are:
- maintaining communication with all organizers
- providing needed support for organizers
- distributing materials
- summarizing results, and
- monitoring the program’s progress within the worksite.
The coordinator recruits member action organizers from stewards and activists in the local membership. The organizers are assigned the names of five to 20 members. Organizers maintain regular communication with these members. They have regular monthly 2-way discussions with each member on the hot issues facing the union. They distribute information received from the action coordinator, solicit member opinions, and ask for help on specific areas of work. The results are reported to the coordinator.
The true source of union power has always been the members. The skill and ability of UWUA members make the nation’s water, gas, and electric infrastructure work. In the same way, members’ commitment to justice, and active involvement, make politicians and employers stop and listen.
The National UWUA believes in this power. The new communication strategy is designed to focus that power to win justice for all UWUA members, their families and their communities.
Every member can expect to hear from their action organizer soon. This is an invitation to make history.
- Is America really broke?
- Are you paying too much in taxes? If so, why?
- How is wealth divided within the U.S ?
- What are the main contributors to our growing national debt? Are Social Security, Medicare, Public Employee wages and benefits, and social spending really the cause of the debt?
- How has democratic debate regarding economic policy changed? Why?
Member to Member Presentations
Is America Really Broke? By Jim Harrison, UWUA National Representative Region IV and Steve Wyatt, UAW Click Here to download this article as a Powerpoint Presentation Congressman Ron Paul: “America is Broke”, – November 15, 2012 Is America really broke? Are you paying too much in taxes? If so, why? How is wealth divided within […]Read More
Are you taxed enough? Or, maybe too much? By Jim Harrison, UWUA National Representative Region IV and Steve Wyatt, UAW Click Here to Download this article as a PowerPoint Presentation Does everyone pay their “fair share?” THAT’S JUST THE TOP 10 ! These facts are why UWUA is launching a new effort to better educate, […]Read More
Fix the debt crisis by putting people back to work and allow America to compete by rebuilding our infrastructure By Jim Harrison, UWUA National Representative Region IV and Steve Wyatt, UAW Click Here to Download this article as a PowerPoint Presentation ANSWER: WE BORROW How does the U.S. infrastructure grade out? In it’s last report […]Read More
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