What is it in us that compels us to wait until it’s too late before we commit our energy and resources to things we see developing before us and should’ve addressed long before now.
I’m not talking about simple procrastination concerning some petty, unpleasant, or inconsequential chore or obligation often put off, or some social nicety that we just failed or forgot to do.
Maybe it’s selfishness, or simply a matter of priorities. Maybe job security isn’t a big deal for you personally, or you have a distorted view of just what makes your job more secure. I don’t know.
What I’m talking about equates to seeing a storm brewing and continuing to sit on the patio with our feet up. I guess the hope is that it will blow over. Maybe it will slam the next neighborhood and not mine.
Six years ago, some Harrison employees saw such a storm brewing. Some saw it when Allegheny flirted so close to bankruptcy in 2003, others didn’t see it until the merger was announced, and there are even a few who still don’t acknowledge that a storm hit.
If you are, or have been, a union officer in our Local, you don’t need anyone to tell you it’s raining. From getting a member’s pay back for an arbitrary 3 day suspension from work, to getting money owed to 22 maintenance members, to getting a wrongfully terminated employee his job back, to securing a $1.25 million dollar settlement for variable pay that was capriciously withheld, to getting our FIRST collective bargaining agreement, and many more little victories; YOUR union officers have been there for YOU.
For YOU, and the good of our union, your union officers have forged relationships with other unions, with political figures, with media types, and taken the initiative in doing those things that make this relatively new union stronger and more capable of protecting YOUR RIGHTS AT WORK.
What we have established is an organization that is resilient and dynamic. We don’t have to accept the company’s word on anything, because we have the network and the resources to get YOU the truth about issues confronting our industry, company, and plant.
As a result, you, as a UWUA Local 304 member and Harrison Power Station employee have more accurate and complete data in those things that affect your job.
YOUR UNION is not perfect, it’s run by people no better or worse, no richer or poorer, no more talented or gifted, or no smarter or dumber than you.
One difference between an average member and a union officer is that a union officer does not have the option of ignoring facts.
They can’t ignore the obvious and pretend it doesn’t exist.
The reason for that is simple; each and every officer believes in the power of collective bargaining.
They are not swayed by a supervisor who buddies up with them.
They don’t forget that a company man will always do whatever the company orders them to do, be it right or wrong.
They don’t make the mistake of forgetting what’s at stake and what has come before.
Each and every union officer knows that it is their sworn duty to represent ALL members, regardless of egos and personalities.
Your union officers are on the job 24/7/365 (366 in a Leap Year). That holds true from your Shop Steward all the way up and beyond your Local’s President. Supporting your President is the UWUA National union. They stand ready with advice and resources, all to give you, the union member, as much political, economic, and social power as you want or need.
All do this unselfishly, giving of their time and talents in doing what can be a thankless and stressful job that devours family time, and quiet evenings at home in favor of time at meetings and conferences, talking on the phone, or writing an article for the website.
All your officers ask is that YOU, the member, clear ONE night a month to attend your Regular Monthly Union Meetings. They are the 2nd Tuesday of the month, every month except December.
So what is it in people that makes them wait until it’s too late to act, or until a situation deteriorates into chaos before they stand with their fellow union members?
Must we wait until the barn is fully engulfed in flames before we draw the first bucket of water from the well?
If UWUA Local 304 IS NOT what YOU want it to be, then step up and be heard, Take a hand in YOUR union and make it what YOU want it to be. We have MORE in common than we have in differences.
In 6 years, I’ve never seen a member shunned from the Union Hall. I’ve never seen a member disrespected or their opinion summarily rejected out of hand.
For you stalwarts who’ve come to almost every meeting and stepped up when asked, THIS present union administration THANK YOU! You’ll never know what it means until you’ve been in the HOT SEAT!
Election for YOUR union officers will be this September. Come out to the union meetings and get caught up on what’s going on. Come out and nominate someone you think would be a good representative of YOUR Local, or get nominated yourself.
The only payoff in being a union officer is the knowledge that you stood up for yourself and your Brothers and Sisters when it counted.You fought while others hid, and you had guts while others stood by holding their manhood cheaply before them when the storm came.