Week 7: What has the Union Done for Me?

Date Posted: 
Thursday, April 12, 2018
That's the question anti-union billionaires like the Koch brothers will be urging you to ask yourself if the Supreme Court rules against unions in the Janus case and declares Fair Share representation fees to be unconstitutional. They're hoping you'll say your union doesn't do anything for you and drop your membership.
 
We think they're greatly underestimating the common sense of our members. Think about some of the gains your local union, NYSUT and our national affiliates, AFT and NEA, have won for you over the years. The many benefits, protections and rights you enjoy weren't gifts from a benevolent employer or a kindly government. Your union and the union members who went before you fought hard for them. And they can disappear quickly if your union's ability to effectively represent you is destroyed. Many of the following are rights and benefits you have now ... and don't want to lose.
  • Right to collectively bargain terms and conditions of employment
  • Defined work day and work year
  • A strong DEFINED BENEFIT pension system
  • Salary schedules providing automatic annual wage increases
  • Employer-provided health, dental and vision plans
  • Paid vacations, holidays, sick/family sick leave, bereavement leave and personal leave
  • Post-retirement health insurance
  • Defense of tenure and other due process rights
  • Right to representation in all disciplinary proceedings
  • Seniority protections against arbitrary layoffs and involuntary transfers
  • Stipends for extracurricular activities and other work beyond the contractual work day
  • Health and safety provisions
  • Anti-discrimination protections
  • Grievance and arbitration procedures to protect against violation of contractual rights
  • Protection against diminishment of pension benefits
  • Right to examine and reproduce materials in your personnel file
  • Voluntary overtime, overtime pay and shift premiums for hourly employees
  • Paid professional development
  • Terminal leave payments and retirement incentives
  • Sick bank rights
  • Welfare funds
  • Fighting for adequate and equitable funding for public schools, higher ed. and health care
  • Fighting for a fair evaluation system
  • Advocating for our students, their families and communities
These are just some of the things your union has done for you. Every one of these rights and benefits - and many others - could be taken away if your union is weakened or destroyed. The Koch brothers are hoping you won't think about that until it's too late.
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