Monday, November 23, 2015

A Thank You From SEIU 503's Board of Directors

This is the season of thanks and I was reminded again of the hard and appreciated work you did this spring, summer and fall suppressing wildfires in Oregon.  Before I could speak, at the Board meeting on November 14, a thanks and enthusiastic agreement was offered recognizing ODF's firefighting and support staff during wildfire season 2015.  They knew as Oregonians what the conditions were and how their communities and homes were in harms way when the temperatures went up and winds blew.  That is why at the Board meeting with many items on the agenda, there was a hearty thank you that I wanted to pass along.

A Happy and Safe Thanksgiving to all, and I hope the new negotiated holiday, the day after Thanksgiving, will bring a little more joy into your life.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Membership, Training, Elections and Fairness

For our Union fairness is an important concept both in bargaining and treatment in the workplace. But opening and closing of recruitments, selection of the individual, assignment of work duties and location of that work are generally within the Management's Rights part of the Contract.  Management gets to make these decisions without Union input or oversight, but it still doesn't feel good when the perceived fair process of competitive interviews is sidestepped.  That brings me to membership, training and elections.

Fairness like justice isn’t always just given it has to be maintained, and sometimes fought for (Veteran’s Day comes to mind) and one of the best ways to do that is to join our Union.  There is currently a membership drive going on and many of you may be receiving a call, or perhaps a home visit asking that you move from Fairshare to Member.  Consider it, there is both a personal and group value to becoming a member, it helps in bargaining and to your work, respect beyond being a professional.

For those who want to go further, SEIU 503 offers Contract Enforcement Training.  These trainings are open to all members and cover the contract environment, creative problem solving and the grievance process.  Two sessions in November are planned, 13-14 in Salem and 20-21 in Portland.  Other sessions are also scheduled around the State and mileage and lodging are paid for those who need to travel.  Contact your Organizer or visit the SEIU 503 website to register.

One of the benefits of membership is the opportunity to run for our Local’s leadership positions and select your representatives by voting.  As a leader of of our Forestry Local you not only will work with the top leadership of the Department but also be one of the very few Union leaders who represent forestry employees.  The election timeline for the next two year term (2016-18) is; nominations open on February 1, 2016; nominations close on February 26, 2016; ballots will be mailed out March 29, 2016; and must be received by April 22, 2016. Our Union and benefits it brings is only as good as those joining, learning and leading it.