President's Corner

January 2018 Building Opportunities for the Next Generation

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VP Kevin Burke: An Educated Membership is Our Most Valuable Asset

IUOE Local 150 Vice President Kevin Burke

As an Officer, one of my most important duties is to chair union meetings across our jurisdiction. It is one of my favorite things, because there is so much going on in each District that I would never want to miss out on by not being able to talk with members before and after the meetings.

I have always been proud to see the level of involvement that so many members have in the union and in the issues that affect all of us as union members. When someone talks about “right to work” or prevailing wage at a union meeting, I see a look of understanding across the crowd, which shows me that most of the members in attendance know exactly what is being talked about.

That experience is different in the field, however, as well as in smaller negotiating committee and contract ratification meetings. When I bring up the issues and obstacles that face us in these settings, I see looks of confusion far more often than I want to.

While staying on top of the latest news on political policies and issues that threaten our rights and wages isn’t possible for everyone, the idea that there are so many members who don’t know the basics is simply astounding. Every member should take an interest in issues that threaten his or her livelihood. Our organization is fighting these fights every single day, and as the old saying goes, we are only as strong as our weakest link.

If you understand “right to work” laws, attacks on prevailing wage laws, attempts to ban project labor agreements, and other issues that pop up on a daily basis throughout our jurisdiction, I applaud you for being involved. I must ask, however, that you try to share this activism with a Brother or Sister member who doesn’t come to union meetings or get involved in any other ways. With everything that we are working on as a union, there is no reason that every District meeting shouldn’t be packed to the rafters, yet it just isn’t the case.

We depend on each other, and it all comes down to accountability. If you come to union meetings on a regular basis, get on some members you know who don’t. Hold them accountable. If you fall into the camp of members who don’t come to the meetings, come on out and talk to your Brothers and Sisters.

If you need to get caught up on some of the basics, check out the classes the union offers on the events page on our website at www.Local150.org. Classes like COMET, Labor History, and Know Your Union are all offered to members for the purpose of building a stronger membership. Grab another operator and get signed up. Get involved. We need you, and with each active member, our union gets stronger.

 

 

 



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