Local 393 Wins Right to Conduct Union Orientations for New Hires
Suffolk County Water Authority workers, members of Local 393, recently won contract language that guarantees the local the right to meet with new hires and welcome them with a union orientation.
In today’s workplace, a new hire is often told by management that the company is responsible for their pay, benefits, and working conditions. The union is left out of the picture, except for the cost of dues.
Local 393 is setting the record straight from day one
“I sit down with them and go over who we are, what we’re about, and how we got to where we are,” says Local 393 Secretary Rose Tullo, who does the orientations. “I tell them that they are hired and paid by the company but that everything in that paycheck — their pay, benefits, longevity, sick days, vacation days and more — is negotiated for by the union. They are getting what they are today because of how hard we worked over the years.”
The newly won orientation language in their contract reads: “The Authority will permit a Union Executive Board member to participate in the orientation day for new bargaining unit employees for up to twenty (20) minutes to discuss Union procedures, Union dues, probationary period, grievance process, overtime rules, seniority, accruals, job bidding and dates of Union meetings. An Authority Human Resources employee shall be present during the twenty (20) minute period.”
Tullo also presents the new members with an orientation packet that includes: a welcome letter from President Nick Caracappa with important phone numbers, benefits information, a local pocket calendar, a “Proud to be Union” bumpersticker, a “Weingarten Rights” card, and the President’s and Vice-President Lou deGonzague’s business cards.
“I tell new members that they are the future of our union,” Tullo explains. “We are here to do the best we can for them and if they want to keep everything they have for tomorrow then they need to be with us today.”
After the new member goes through the orientation, Tullo shares their information with their Shop Steward, stays in touch with them through their 90-day probation, and follows up with them to get them sworn in at a union meeting.