Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What It Means To Be The Only Non-Union Employees in a Union Environment

I thought about this entry on Monday, but I'm just getting the chance to post it.  The reason for this is that I was working on Labor Day, along with the other employees in my department.  We happened to be the only employees in the plant who were required to work.  We are also the only department that is not in the bargaining unit.

While working Monday didn't really bother me(I consider May 1st to be the real Labor Day), it did get me thinking about the other differences between the employees in the bargaining unit, and my department.

There are the obvious holidays that we do not get to enjoy spending with family and friends.  We also do not follow seniority when it comes to open job promotions, or bidding on our routes.  We were also the only employees in the plant who did not have their cost of living increases retrograded, which meant a few hundred dollars to most of us.  We also do not ever get weekend days off unless we are on vacation.  This is despite the fact that there are enough of us to rotate weekend duty so that everyone gets one weekend day a month off.

Then there is the most important issue - Job Security.

There have been several people in the bargaining unit who have lost their jobs over questionable evidence, and nearly all of them have been awarded their jobs back with back pay by arbitrators.  Our department has had four employees terminated in the last six months.  While the evidence was much stronger in some cases over others, none of the employees was allowed to have the chance to have their day in court.

In contrast, my job classification in a nearby plant happens to be in the bargaining unit.
What are the differences between those employees and us?

For starters, they make $3.13 more an hour than we do, which is a direct result of their contract negotiations.  Secondly, they can bid on their routes using seniority, which means your loyalty to the company is rewarded by giving you first choice of your job assignments.  They also rotate weekend assignments, and had their cost of living increase retrograded.  Most importantly, they have the right to grieve any adverse action taken by management against them.
So when I think of what it means to be union(which I have been in the past) and non-union(what I am now), the difference is crystal clear:

Lower Pay, Less Fairness, No Job Security.

In Solidarity,


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