Member Jennifer D. explains (above) perfectly why she is a member of the Union.
In belonging to SEIU 503, you share your strength in the work place with your fellow members. Employers have almost all the rights without a union. If certain laws, such as the minimum wage, are not violated, they may change your pay and working conditions at any time. Your employer decides what benefits you will receive.
Your union contract outlines your benefits and working conditions. You have the additional benefit of union representation if you have concerns or complaints regarding your working conditions. A union steward is a union member who is trained to hear workplace disputes and help resolve them. The power of your union is in it’s membership. Our strength increases as more members join.
We are a worker-driven union. That means that your fellow classified workers run the union. The officers and committee members are rank and file workers. They volunteer their own time to conduct union business on your behalf and are supported by our union organizers. It is every members responsibility to invite and encourage fellow workers to become members.
How unions improve working life:
1. Better working conditions: If you dread work, feel exploited, over-worked or undervalued, there are solutions. Union members work together to bargain better working conditions. We provide checks and balances to employers’ constant desire to raise profits, often denying employees a proper work/life balance in the process.
2. Money: By bargaining together, unionized employees tend to receive better wages than non-union workers. Prosperous employees make communities healthier and stronger by sharing the wealth. The Union employs professional negotiators to get you annual increases so you don’t have to go begging to the boss as an individual.
3. Benefits: Decent benefits should be part of every job. If that’s not the case now at your workplace, forming a union will ensure it’s part of your future. By negotiating together for contracts, workers get benefits that take care of both their needs and the needs of their families.
4. Did we mention money?: Retirement might seem way off in the future but it’s never too early to start saving money. And that plan that the Union helped you negotiate will come in handy when you are looking to buy a home. Retirement plans and pensions are complicated. You need someone on your side to show the way.
5. Your boss is the worst: We help ensure that job expectations are clear and reasonable. When everyone knows the rules, and you have an expert representative in your corner, employees can be shielded from bad bosses. And when the boss doesn’t follow the rules, a grievance process gives you the mechanism you need to fix the problem without having to hire a lawyer.
6. Your boss is the best: Today’s companies are constantly shifting directions, which means the boss you love today could be replaced by the boss from hell tomorrow. A good union contract will offer protection from favouritism and provide a just-cause clause in your contract — meaning you can’t lose your job just because your new manager doesn’t like the look of you.
7. You’ll learn so much: Local 503 offers a ton of learning opportunities for members. Training can cover anything from understanding your contract, grievance handling, or even how to talk to new workers about the Union and asking them to join.
8. Fair layoff practices: If layoffs occur, unions ensure priority is given to length of service when determining who keeps their job. This provides job security for more senior employees, who can also opt to leave to save a more junior employee’s job. We negotiate layoff rights to help find you another position on campus.
9. The airing of grievances: Unions offer a listening ear to all workers — especially those who feel alone or powerless in their jobs. Grievance procedures are built into union contracts, giving employees the power to be treated with respect.
10. Power to the people: The voice of many is much stronger than the voice of one. Working with co-workers as members of a union creates a much stronger presence when negotiating with management.
Together, workers can’t be ignored.