Growing your local
BUILDING A UNION:
One of the most effective ways to build a strong local union, from the inside out, is to actively seek out new bargaining unit employees. History has shown us that when a new co-worker is approached with a welcome and a membership card that membership increases.
As a local officer, you are both an organizer and a provider of member services. You have the responsibility to keep members and potential members up to date. This is an ongoing task, and is full of exciting opportunities to meet new and existing bargaining unit members. There will occasionally be frustrations and possibly stumbling blocks in the process of building your local.
Educating members on issues and problems affecting the union is not as easy as it may sound. You may want to consider some incentives to build interest and activism within your local. Try door prizes, MAPE history trivia contests, dues return for stewards and electronic talking points in addition to the unbeatable person-to-person contact.
Union members will come forward when the time is right. Recruiting members to become involved in the union’s work and activities is important work. Recognize your members’ skills and interests, and your suggestions for their involvement will not fall on deaf ears.
A MAPE local can, and will, improve the way its resources, such as time and money, are used. Issues can be addressed in a timely, consistent and proactive manner, thus eliminating the need to rush to “put out fires.”
The local leadership has the collective responsibility to provide guidance, direction and stability to the membership. By examining the local’s strengths and weaknesses, you can involve the membership in the development of a strategic plan, rather than shoulder the “quick fix” on your own. Be willing to consider, discard, change, adapt or modify strategies.
Locals may create committees in compliance with the MAPE Constitution, Bylaws, policies and procedures and local members’ formal directives. Not all locals will have an active committee structure, some will have many and others will find that the members’ needs require only a few, specific committees.
The committee structure can be a tool to build your strong local. Within this model, local leadership is decentralized, through member involvement. By participating in the decisions, activities and successes of the local, the members are empowered. Each issue facing your local provides a significant challenge to solve a problem and to create a new opportunity to educate and inform the members of your local.
Members become involved in union activities for a variety of reasons. Some are based on the sense of belonging, and others want the chance to use their talents and abilities. You will find that some members are issue oriented and will choose their level of involvement based on a particular problem, and the desire to participate in the development of a specific solution.
The common theme is a desire to help other professional employees face today’s unique challenges that exist in contemporary public service.
The following is a list of commonly used committees and their respective duties.
Local Audit Committee’s duties:
- Reconcile/audit local income/expenses. Verify necessary expense approval forms to minutes, local policy and procedure, and financial reports as directed by the local membership, MAPE Constitution, Bylaws and policy and procedure.
Membership Committee’s duties:
- Contact new members in the worksite to generate full membership.
- Develop a simple member recruitment program including the distribution of MAPE products and information.
- Develop a contact person in each work site included within the geographic boundaries of the local.
Job Action Committee duties:
- Coordinate with MAPE Central, Region Director and local officers all job action activities.
Meeting Site and Meal Committee duties:
- Arrange for suitable meeting sites and reserve the space at the designated time for membership meetings.
- Arrange for member meals, snacks and/or beverages per local policy, procedure and/or MAPE Central policy and procedure.
- Submit approved expenses to the appropriate local officer for payment and/or reimbursement per all relevant policy and procedure.
Legislative Action Committee duties:
- Contact local legislators regarding local member and statewide professional employee issues.
- Contribute legislative position resolutions to the MAPE Government Relations Committee for Delegate Assembly action.
- Inform members, via written or oral report of important legislative activities in coordination with MAPE Central.
Community Outreach Committee duties:
- Coordinate member participation, donations or public comment as directed by local or local Executive Committee action, and within all relevant policies and procedures.
- Write letters to the editor, newsletter articles etc. as approved by local membership or local Executive Committee.
Communications Committee duties:
- Develop and maintain member communication lists, i.e., e-mail addresses, worksite addresses and phone numbers.
- With the approval of the local Executive Committee or membership, draft, finalize and distribute timely communications to members regarding current issues.
- Coordinate with MAPE communications the distribution of materials to local members.
There are standing committees established to address the ongoing needs of the local membership and special committees that are established to address a specific, short-term issue and are dissolved once their mission has been completed.
Each committee should have an appointed chair to preside at the meetings, clear responsibilities, and a secretary to take minutes and keep the records. Each committee should represent the significant characteristics of the membership.
Each committee chair or designated committee representative should report to the membership at every regular local meeting. This may be in person, or in writing submitted to the local President or other local officer prior to the scheduled meeting. The committee report may be as simple as, “There is no report as the #%^*# Committee did not meet” or as detailed as regular meeting minutes.
The union is responsible for negotiating and enforcing the MAPE Master Agreement, its included supplemental contract sections, all Letters of Intent and Memorandums of Understanding that comprise the total MAPE contract.
The union is responsible for the grievance process, formal and informal.
The union will participate in Meet and Confer and Labor-Management committee meetings to further the goals of the membership.
Union committees, standing and special, will be coordinated to better accomplish the mission of MAPE.
Membership meetings will be held at sites and at times to be determined by the membership. Meetings will be scheduled in advance to make attendance as convenient as possible for those members wishing to participate.
All reports and records of the local’s actions and business will be maintained and available to the membership upon request, and in compliance with MAPE Central and/or local governance.