If your workplace doesn’t have an orientation session for new members, take the time to find out who your shop steward is, and introduce yourself. Let her know who you are, and mention that you’re willing to help if there’s anything you can do. This relationship will also let you know who to ask if you have any questions about your rights at work.
If you don’t understand what’s happening, or if something seems wrong, try to find someone to talk to rather than just letting it go. This may be your shop steward, may be a more experienced co-worker, or may be a member of your local’s executive.
Between difficult timing and seemingly arcane procedures, it’s easy to find reasons not to attend union meetings, and it’s true that most union members now only go to meetings if they have a problem or there’s a vote. But going to meetings is the best way to find out what’s actually happening in your local – what problems are common to lots of members, and where you can get involved. You may want to try to find a more experienced member to sit with, who can explain what’s going on and how the meetings are ran.
Talk to your steward or executive to find out where people are needed to help out with your local, and see if there’s anything that matches your interests. Maybe it’s a pensions committee, helping to write a newsletter or maintain a web site. Maybe it’s a health and safety committee, political action committee, diversity committee, or social events committee. Not all of these exist in every local, but you can always ask – they may not exist simply because no one was willing to take on the work. And committee work is a good way to learn how your local works, and meet the people involved in it. Don’t wait to be asked – when in a hurry, people will often go to people they know, if they don’t know who else to talk to.
If there’s a role you’re interested in taking on, but you don’t feel you have the skills required, talk to your executive. Your local may be able to send you on educational courses to help you learn how to take on the position, or might pair you with a more experienced activist to share the load and let you learn the job.
Ask about CUPE Educationals
CUPE offeres a wide range of courses that your local may be able to send you to learn about how to serve your local more effectivly. Ask your local executive or click HERE for a list of all the courses offered.
A great and short introductory phamplet for new and young mebers to learn about the basics of Unionism [Jul 13, 2009 06:51 PM]
Here is a fantastic resource for young or new members to learn about CUPE, and the union movment in general. [Jul 13, 2009 06:49 PM]