On June 1st, 2013 I posted my first blog piece after returning from voting in my LiUNA Local 1001 election. Four years later, a few union education certifications and many late nights of reading, I realized why my vote counts. It counts because I count. On May 20th, 2017 the LiUNA Local 1001 Integrity slate composed of a majority of the same leaders of the past several years won sweepingly and mostly by a landslide. They won because they did listen to members needs including, but not limited to: membership expansion, transparency and inclusion.
The More the Merrier
In the past four years these leaders have increased union membership by nearly 500 people. Yes, many of those members are now on the second tier but what union isn’t using tiers? Very few. As Chicago’s pension crisis rages on, the new general laborers are creating additional funding to our pension while helping our union increase working members. A majority of new members are twenty somethings and minority. Integrity slate is inadvertently curing the violence of this city by hiring the targets of our epidemic. While organizations throughout the city scramble to find people in violence prone areas jobs, Integrity slate did it. Infusing the general laborers into various bureaus creates an overall lower budget per department. The lower budget enables 1001 to bargain for expanded jobs in other fields such as FSS, Dispatcher, Arborist, and RCCs for members to receive an expanded career. When I researched and collaborated on the Enterprise Fund, what is commonly termed the Garbage Fee, the major complaint from the City was the expense of prevailing wage labor. The lower tiered pay scale balances our labor costs. General laborers can bid into other Local 1001 positions such as Sanitation Clerk, Asphalt Laborer, Laborer Transportation and others. For the career service employees, go to the training opportunities that 1001 posts. Kronos training helps on any management position or iron barricade training which qualifies you for additional overtime opportunities. If your job matters to you and expansion and security is what you really want and need, then support how all that is being done. It’s for you and because of you.
Taking Off the Cover
Integrity slate has increased transparency of transfers adhered to by seniority than ever before. The old pull the names out of a hat is not only outdated but illegal. Integrity understood this and has won that battle with a major city’s HR department. Before people complain they should know of the countless grievances for years that 1001 submitted against the City for the illegal transfers. Unions, just like any advocacy organization, must file complaints on behalf of workers. They don’t get on the Bat phone and tell Commissioner Gordon what to do. The 1001 app brings light to events, news, bids, contract and more. The app itself is a transparent means to find out anything that is occurring with our union. If a member sees or hears something through the grapevine call the union or go to a meeting. You’ll get an answer. Before you ask please study the contract and our constitution which have both been posted on the app, website and online. That’s transparency.
The election was an amazing catalyst of change for our union. The company, USA Elections, was precise, professional and accurate. As a lifelong election judge and poll watcher, their system should be used in America’s general elections. The software and equipment was state of the art along with the superbly trained staff. Their knowledge allowed the election to be recorded on a real time status. It allowed union members to vote quickly, accurately and confidentially. The entire process was transparent.
One Union to Rule them All
The hashtag #1u is an amazing reminder that we are part of a Labor Movement, grown over 100 years. When we want something, we must share with our brothers and sisters. If family isn’t your thing, then union may not be either. Because here we share. During the past four years, members knew that women, African-Americans and Latinos received more promotions that at any other time. From FSS to RCC and even a laborer turn superintendent, our membership is balancing out for all members. Our leadership is more diverse than ever before. Though America didn’t believe a woman could be president, our union has decided it’s right for our progress. For eight years we lived in a country that was devastated by a Great Recession that was cured by an African-American president. We have re-elected a strong African-American man that has taken us through recessions, investigations and the real threat of privatization successfully. He will be successful again. As we shudder when we hear of the “Wall”, we’ve progressively elected a Latino Secretary-Treasurer for a second term. Why wouldn’t we want that in our union? We the people run this country, we the people should represent us on the job.
The future of your job is in your ability to be a good, contributing and confident member of your union family. Infighting, gossip and lack of activism hurts us all. Politicians that we need to vote for us, need our support in their events and in their elections. They also need to see our strength in numbers as we can turn an entire ward orange. Our future depends on our collective activism. If we don’t show our orange, they’ll show us the door.