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  • FAQ about CWA

    UNION HITCHHIKER - Author Unknown

    Have you ever driven down the road and run upon a hitchhiker?

    Most of the time, their thumb is giving a clear message:

    “If you furnish the car, the gas, the time, and do the driving, I’ll ride with you.  But if you think I’m going to pitch in for gas, you’re out of your mind.  By the way, if you have an accident and I’m hurt, I’ll sue you for all you got”.

    We have hitchhikers in our Union too.  In one way or another, they’re saying: 

    “If you supply the protection of a contract, negotiate that contract, protect me at work, get me fair and decent wages, health benefits, and hours of work, I’ll ride.  But you’re crazy if you think I’m going to get involved and help you make this a better place to work. And by the way, if anything happens that irritates me, you’ll hear from me”.

    Think about it – Are you just thumbing a free ride? Or can you do a little more to help us all?

    Why Should I Join the Union?

    Collective Bargaining is a power relationship, and the Union gets its power from solidarity and active support of its members. The employer knows exactly how many non-members are in the bargaining unit and takes the number of non-members as a sign of weakness, which they will exploit. Without membership support and activism, the power shifts unfairly toward the employer, and the collective bargaining process breaks down.

    I can't afford to join the Local because the dues are too high:

    Each member of the Local shall pay dues at 2 1/4 hours per month. This amount is usually broken up between two pay periods, roughly about 1 hour and 7 minutes a paycheck. (Click here for more information)Over 60% of the dues are returned to the Local to provide the resources for the union to fight to protect our jobs, our living standard, and quality of life. The other 40% are used to invest into the CWA National Defense and Relief fund, which assists members in times of Strikes and pays for the operation of the international union. Companies spend billions of dollars paying management salaries to protect their interest, so we as members should do our part to protect ours.

    I don't like how things are run by the union or the people who are running it:

    Your signature on a membership card gives you the right and the opportunity to help run the union. The union leadership and stewards are made up of workers like you who volunteer their time to represent your interest and objections to management. If you feel the leadership or a steward are not running the local correctly, it is your obligation to bring these issues before the membership so that the union is run in a fashion that meets the membership needs.

    Why do I need a Union when the company treats me fairly, and the union has never received anything that we wouldn't have received anyway?

    Management has to treat you fairly because the union contract requires them to. They must use seniority and overtime roosters for shift selection, vacation scheduling, and volunteer overtime. If management were not held to an agreement like this, chances are only certain workers would be used for special projects and used for overtime all the time. In a non-union shop, management is all-powerful, and management usually lets everyone know about it. You have no voice in a non-union shop.

    I can't afford to go on strike, so how can I be sure I won't be out on strike?

    It is up to the membership to decide whether we go on strike or not. If your not a member, you have no say in what the union does. Strikes lose less than one-fifth of one percent of all working time. You usually read in newspapers and see on T.V. about strikes because, of course,  strikes are news. How many times have you heard about the hundreds of thousands of contracts that were settled without a strike? A strike is a leverage tool used to equalize the two parties' (union and management) power. Collective Bargaining works best when both parties have an incentive to settle.

    My boss doesn't believe in unions?

    At one time, the supervisor was a virtual dictator able to hire and fire at will. Now he has to live up to the contract agreed upon. The NLRA, the contract, and public policy guarantee you the right to organize, even in a right-to-work state.

    I don't want anything to do with the union. I feel they are all corrupt:

    The CWA is a democratic, clean union that has a strong tradition of grassroots Local leadership. The CWA Constitution assures democratic procedures and that the membership controls the union, not the leadership. As a member, you have the right and obligation to point out abuse to the membership at any time. Corruption on any level will not be tolerated.

    Page Last Updated: Apr 29, 2021 (14:17:21)
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