Thursday, November 18, 2010

We Don't Need No Education?

No, I'm not referring to the Pink Floyd Classic:

I'm talking about the lack of education when it comes to the rank and file membership in the labor movement. How many times have you explained something to a member of your bargaining unit, and they responded, "I didn't know that was in our contract!"  If you're like me, the number is way higher than you care to admit.

This is a bigger problem than I think is widely realized within the labor movement.  If our members don't know their own contract, how are they supposed to know when it is being violated?  We have to to a much better job of educating people.

This can be done through lunch and learns, or by simple flyers with bullet points at regular functions like picnics, etc.  I also like to send out a small insert if you have a regular newsletter.  However you do it, the important thing is to do something. Anything that plants the seed in a member's mind is a positive move for the local, the international, and the movement as a whole.

A hundred years ago, members carried their union contract on their person as frequently as a wallet.(I hear some UMWA folks still do!)  They did so because they had worked hard to earn it, many times with their own blood.  Granted, we haven't had the violent battles like they did back then, but perhaps we should at least print a small version of the contract that people can fit in their pocket in case they need to refer to it on the job.

In Solidarity,


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