What you can do for your Union
As members of CTU, we are joined together as a union—a group of workers who know that together we can have an impact on our work life and on the University. Our unity has resulted in increased wages, a great benefit package and job security. In turn, the University reaps productivity and loyalty because we take a professional attitude toward our work responsibilities. Our Union is run by us—the members. In order for our Union to remain strong and viable, we need to take an interest and an active role in making decisions, representing coworkers, enforcing our contract and building the unity that is our strength. To achieve this, we have organized our Union in such a way as to maximize the talents and abilities of individual members at whatever level they are able to serve. Members can participate in committees, attend rallies, write letters or articles for our newsletter, vote, wear solidarity buttons when appropriate, stop rumors at the work site, etc. A few may even consider running for an Executive Board position. Of the many activities available, one of the most important is that of representing the Union in the workplace.
URs: the backbone of the CTU
Being a UR means a commitment of time which varies from day to day—from none at all to way too much—and a commitment to the principles of the CTU. A UR should provide the example of a dedicated employee willing to go the extra distance to improve the working environment for everyone. URs are expected to relay information between members in their districts and the Executive Board in a timely manner. While this part of the job has become somewhat easier with the introduction of electronic communication, the role of the UR as the face of the Union in the workplace cannot be overstated. URs are expected to get to know as many members in their districts as possible, to engage the members in conversations about their Union and to encourage their participation. Likewise, URs who work closely with the members in their districts are in a unique position to provide feedback to the Executive Board and let them know of issues and attitudes in various areas of campus. The position calls on URs to offer comfort, information and support to coworkers, possibly in times of stress, fear or injury. Patience and determination in the face of setbacks are certainly qualities that make for an effective UR. It is also crucial that anyone who takes on the responsibility be able to maintain confidentiality. A UR must always remember that she or he is an advocate for the members of the Clerical-Technical Union, not for supervisors or managers.
URs do not work alone
If it sounds a bit rough, remember that URs have the backing of the approximately 1,500 members of the Clerical-Technical Union. We want our representatives knowledgeable and skilled, so we provide a great deal of training. URs are released from their jobs once a month to receive training, with additional training opportunities available as well. No one is thrown into a UR position to sink or swim. Additionally, the CTU hires Contract Administrators (CAs) who oversee the implementation of our Contract. The CAs are available to assist and train URs with workplace issues or problems. The CTU sets the highest standards when it comes to representing members, and the CAs work side-by-side with the URs to make sure we provide it.
There’s little pay for the job. URs receive only a small monthly stipend paid at the end of the year. But, as many URs will tell you, the job offers a wealth of rewards:
- URs are usually the first to know of developments with the Union.
- URs are frequently asked to help the Executive Board strategize about the direction of the Union.
- Much of the training and experience URs receive can be applied to other areas of their lives.
- URs find great satisfaction in knowing they’ve helped coworkers and built a better future for themselves and all CTs.
If you are interested in being a UR, contact the CTU at 517-355-1903 or firstname.lastname@example.org.