Be More Active in the Guild
(It's Not Too Late to Make a Resolution)
Because I have withdrawn my candidacy for re-election as president of the Washington Baltimore Newspaper Guild, the President's Perspective columns will resume until my terms ends, effective with the General Membership meeting of Jan. 29.
(Jan. 11, 2011)
Regardless of when you're reading this, it's quite likely there's a lot more of 2011 ahead of us than behind us. If you're a
resolution-maker, what resolutions can you make that would further the
work of the Guild?
An obvious resolution is to be more active. What aspect of union
life do you see going unfulfilled? And how can you help make it
better? This can cover anything up to and including unit and local
governance, your bargaining unit's grievance committee, or becoming a
shop steward. The union movement is not a vending machine: dues go in,
service comes out. It depends on dues-paying members to do more than
just pay dues.
If you want to be more active, but aren't sure exactly of how
to go about it, you can resolve to get more educated. The local offers
member training twice a year on average, part of an ongoing effort –
call it the local's own resolution – to offer continuing education
for shop stewards, bargaining teams and unit officers.
The Guild, for
instance, will convene a meeting of unit chairs Tuesday, Jan. 18, at the
local's downtown D.C. office, 1100 15th St. NW (at the corner of L Street), Suite 350
#350, in downtown Washington. It's also planning a daylong session on bargaining training in the early spring.
Even if you don't consider yourself leadership material in the
Guild universe, there's something that our rank-and-file can always
resolve to do, and that is to challenge. You can always challenge unjust
treatment on the part of your employer. You should also feel free to
challenge your union leadership at any level. When you do, be prepared
to take the mantle of leadership yourself. Merely carping and whining
won't cut it in the Guild, as it wouldn't in any other organization.
But focused and thoughtful challenges will only serve to make the Guild better.
– Mark Pattison