By Doug Rigert, Union Representative
There are numerous benefits to being a Union Member and many already know this, but it is surprising how many do not, or take them for granted. The greatest benefit is having a voice in the workplace and the strongest example of this is the language that can be found throughout your current union contract. In most cases, each current union contract is an evolution of rights and benefits that have been fought for and achieved over many, many years. This has been done by past as well as current Union Members like yourself who felt strongly enough to get involved, make their voices heard and to demand and fight for positive changes and improvements in their rights and benefits. There are now countless examples of these to be found in your current union contract.
There is a saying “You don’t know what you don’t know” and this applies to many things in life and cannot be overstated when it comes to knowing your rights and benefits that are contained within your union contract. However, to know them you must first take the time to read and familiarize yourself with your contract. I encourage you to please do this if you have not already. By doing so you can help protect the rights and benefits for yourself and perhaps your coworkers as well. This is also very important if you are interested in participating on a future contract negotiating committee or would like to present a new contract proposal.
In many cases, your Union Representative is not likely to be aware of a contract violation or your union rights and benefits not being lived up to by your employer without you knowing first and then letting them know. There is a partnership of sorts between you and your Union Representative when it comes to this matter and they rely on you to know your contract. If you are not sure about the language found within or if there is something you think is improper going on by your employer, contact them to ask or let them know. If you do not have a copy of your union contract, please contact your Union Representative and we will be glad to bring you one and answer any questions you might have.