November 24, 2014

Let’s Organize the Unorganized

By Richard Ross
UTU Director of Organizing

The UTU has a long history of representing transportation workers — fighting on their behalf for better job security, and improved wages, benefits and working conditions.

We have consistently handled more claims before various tribunals under the Railway Labor Act, the National Labor Relations Act, state laws, and in accordance with collective bargaining agreements, than other, much larger unions.

The UTU has a proven track record negotiating and defending superior labor agreements in the airline, bus, railroad and transit industries.

Our national and state legislative offices pride themselves in helping to elect labor-friendly lawmakers and gaining legislation and regulations that improve workplace safety.

In organizing, we offer those same services to those that wish to become UTU members, and we do so expecting little in return.

Organizing leads to a special bond with our new members — a bond they soon come to recognize as they experience union brothers and sisters helping union brothers and sisters.

Organizing is not just the process through which we mechanically recruit new members to the union, but involves mutually helping our brothers and sisters grow in their knowledge of the UTU — our proud history, our affiliation with the AFL-CIO, our respect for and guarantee of craft autonomy, and our superior collective bargaining agreements, and ability to defend them.

As furloughed employees are recalled, many of whom had little time in the job after hiring on, each of us bears a responsibility as a caring brother and sister to share our knowledge of collective bargaining, grievance handling, safety programs, and legislative initiatives.

This demonstrates the UTU’s efforts on their behalf and reveals to each new member that we personally care about each other — that by working together we can make our union family stronger as we collectively pursue greater job security, higher wages, improved benefits and better working conditions.

UTU International President Mike Futhey has placed an emphasis on organizing the unorganized, and UTU organizers recently have brought hundreds of airline, bus and rail workers into the UTU.

To contact a UTU organizer, or learn more about UTU organizing, log onto the UTU webpage at www.utu.org and click on “Organizing/Training” in the blue tile box on the left.

With October nominations upon us, this is an excellent time to educate our newer members in union democracy, the benefits and strengths of craft autonomy, and the many resources of the UTU available every day to members.

More experienced members might also consider stepping up to run for office, making sure our newer members have updated their contact information with the local secretary & treasurer so they will receive a ballot, and making sure you take the time to vote to elect the best candidates for those vacant positions.

Organizing is integral to a core value of the UTU: “In Unity There is Strength.”

Within the UTU, “solidarity” is more than a catch phrase. It is a way of life. We are UTU — an organization that begins and ends with “U.”