The following is an excerpt from an email that one of our bargaining team members, Connie Jones, sent to a co-worker who had questions about how bargaining works and how they can better be involved. The excerpt has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Many of our members are new and may not know that we are all our Union. Most of us are volunteers, who have demanding work schedules, like other City employees. We go to weekend and evening meetings, not because we have nothing else to do, but because we are sick and tired of large corporations and the rich benefitting from an economic system in which everyone but large corporations and the rich lose ground daily.
Working with our Union is one way we can make life better for our families and colleagues. More members of our Union need to join us so we can all fight to improve our retirement benefits, healthcare and working conditions. Our bargaining team is asking for raises for all of the workers our Unions represent.
You can help us by attending the upcoming rally July 19th, which will be held at 4:30, Chapman Square. The City has said that they aren’t really motivated to make economic changes because they haven’t seen the level of activism from our members sufficient to move them on wages. It’s up to us to motivate the City through our collective action.
Our dues buy us legal representation for grievances and Unfair Labor Practices (we won an Unfair Labor Practice for GPS systems installed in Inspector’s cars), and a full-time paid representative, Rob Wheaton, who works with HR and City Council on our behalf. Rob is co-lead negotiator for the bargaining team, along with Donna Hammond from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Some dues go to support attorneys from our State Chapter (Council 75) who battle daily, in our interest, for our retirement benefits. Some dues pay for part of the time our representatives, like me, spend on the Citywide Bargaining Team, to fight for our co-workers. Dues don’t cover our evenings or weekends spent on the business of our Union – we give those hoping to make change.
If you want to stay updated on how bargaining is going, in addition to talking with a bargaining team member, you have several options:
We have a Facebook page run by volunteers with weekly bargaining updates: #DCTUnited that can be accessed by internet search, for those who aren’t on Facebook.
We have a website.
We also have a weekly email update that you can subscribe to.
If you have any questions, you can email us.
Connie Jones, Proud AFSCME Local 189 and DCTU Bargaining Team Member