“YOU don’t have a say” 🙀👎 Incumbents’ attitude to union bargaining is everything wrong with our current board

The incumbent slate’s position on collective bargaining: “You don’t have a say” 🙀

This was their message to members, repeated two more times in a recent chapter stewards meeting.

They are wrong. Every member deserves a voice and a vote in bargaining

Carmen Cruz is running for VP with Gail Wisely’s incumbent slate. Carmen’s on the bargaining committee.

When stewards told her that members want a say in midterm bargaining to prevent another bad deal like the secret pay-for-space swap, Carmen insisted:“you don’t have a say,” and the bargaining team can do whatever it wants, without your input.

“Nothing to report” is Gail Wisely’s latest update on Kraninger’s union-busting contract changes

Last month, Director Kraninger proposed major union-busting changes to our contract as part of midterm bargaining, which threaten our job security and fundamental employee rights. Gail and Carmen have no plan to fight these threats, or to involve you in their decision-making as members of the bargaining team.

Collective bargaining is the core responsibility of a union. We can’t afford to have undemocratic leaders in charge of bargaining any longer.

You deserve leadership that acts transparently, shares information, and respects the will of the members. You deserve an informed vote to approve any negotiated articles. You deserve a seat at the bargaining table.

Here’s Union Strong’s vision for what real representation will look like. These approaches may be new to our chapter, and will require work for us to achieve, but they are part of a strong tradition of union democracy.

Open negotiations

When the union’s bargaining team meets to negotiate with management, members are invited to observe, in person or via livestream. This keeps the national union and the bargaining committee accountable to the members, while showing management our strength in numbers.

Examples: Temple University, American Federation of Teachers Local 2121, GWC-UAW Local 2110 Graduate Workers of Columbia

“Most employers don’t like open negotiations because their comments and attitude become common knowledge to people. This is the way it should be. Many times the Union Committee becomes used to hearing the employer say ridiculous things to justify a position they are holding. When members are present and hear such things they usually become insulted and tell other members what they heard.”


Contract Action Teams (CATs)

CATs empower members to lead 10-person Contract Action Teams to communicate with, organize, and mobilize members for ongoing contract negotiations. Each leader meets regularly with the bargaining committee to report and receive updates. With our contract’s Compensation article up for negotiation this year, we’ll need grassroots participation to make sure your voice is heard at the bargaining table.

Examples: American Postal Workers Union, UFCW 21, United Teachers Los Angeles, SEIU

An informed vote

The chapter distributes tentative contract agreements to the members, and its analysis of the tradeoffs. Members have time to read everything, and meet to ask questions, share and discuss their positions. Members must vote to ratify a contract. This is a right our union chapter does not currently have, but other unions have fought for and won this right.

Examples: United Auto Workers, Chicago Teachers Union, CUNY contract blitz

“The right to vote on contracts is most often undermined when members can’t make an informed decision. They need accurate contract language, the opportunity for alternative leaders to analyze the proposal, time to discuss the likely implications, and time to perhaps campaign among co-workers for a ‘no’ vote.”

Getting a Fair Contract Vote

Protected concerted activity

When employers refuse to bargain, like many federal agencies under Trump, we must use other means to leverage our union’s power to bring management to the bargaining table. Federal workers lost the right to strike (although somepresidential candidates propose restoring this right in their platforms). This means we must get creative with protected concerted activity, which are collective actions we have a legally protected right to partake in, like petitioning, picketing, canvassing, rallying and more.

Examples: AFGE: Fight Back Against the EOs, EPA Employee protests contract during ceremony with Wheeler, Hundreds of federal workers rallied on Capitol Hill to protest the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back employee benefits and protections

Read more about Kraninger-Trump union-busting, and join Union Strong as we fight back against Trump’s executive orders and build a democratic union that will represent all employees, equally.

In solidarity,
Union Strong Caucus