Source: PSAC Local Officer’s Kit
It is not possible for Local Officers to become involved in all the activities described, nor is it expected. Opportunities for involvement, where possible, should be available to all members. In this way the workload can be shared, a great deal more accomplished and Local leadership developed. Members also feel they are part of the union if they get to play a role.
One of the challenges faced by those active in the union is the conflict between “union time,” “work time,” and “home time.” PSAC collective agreements provide for time off for union work. Locals should discuss leave with pay with the employer when union work is beneficial to the employer and/or the workplace.
The Organizing Model
The organizing model puts membership involvement at the centre of all union activity. Through it, we draw on the knowledge and expertise of all our members and all union resources wherever they are found in the union’s structure. An organizing model at the Local level includes:
Asking members about issues, concerns, and changes they would like to see.
When developing strategies and plans, always including membership input.
Mentoring and encouraging members to take an active role in their union.
Analyzing every problem and situation from the perspective of how it can be used as an opportunity to involve as many members as possible.
There is always enough union work to go around and the organizing model is also important to prevent burn-out by too few people trying to undertake too much work.
If the Local is to fulfill its mandate, it must be properly organized and administered. Members must know where to go for help and who to contact.
If members are to get involved, they must also know what is happening and how they can become active in their Local. It’s critical that members feel they are involved in the decision making process of their union. Here’s is a list of some of the activities members can undertake.
Organizing Executive and General Membership;
Signing up new members;
Other services provided by the Local, e.g., union counselling.
Working on union campaigns/activities or working in support of community and social justice events.