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Labor Column From Niagara County Labor Representative Earl Frampton, Who Offers Up His “Two Cents:” What It Really Means Being A Union Member And Getting Involved In Your Union

Published Sunday, April 17, 2011 10:00 am
by Earl Frampton

Many times in my travels to visit with Western New York’s many Union Locals and to speak with Union Presidents and their Memberships - the issue of a lack of participation of the membership at Union Meetings and the overall point of getting involved is nearly always brought to my attention.

While my comments and thoughts vary from Local to Local, the issue of Union Dues always comes up and the subsequent question as to why Union Members should pay Union Dues.

Union Dues have never bought or brought about justice for Working People - but working together and standing as one buys justice, strength and solidarity.

For too many of our members, their workday ends when they get into their cars and go home.

That’s not the case for the people out there who are trying to take away our Standard of Living.

Companies, Corporations and Governments work 24 hours a day to strip away regulations that protect our members in many workplace locations.

In contrast, Union Presidents, Business Agents, Stewards and Union Representatives have unfortunately had to beg some of their members to write letters to our Legislators to support quality service in order to support jobs, our jobs and theirs.

Each day there are forces out there lobbying our Local, State and Federal Governments to break down the protection of the Working Class.

The simple fact is, Members Dues pay for the administration of our contracts, grievances, contract negotiations and - yes - a small portion, less than 10%, goes towards lobbying elected officials who support Labor Issues that protect our way of life in the work world today.

Remember, the day never ends for those who want to take away what we’ve worked so hard to gain.

So what do we have that they want to take from us?

How about Health Care, which is necessary for our families, and our Pensions – which will one day allow us to rest from decades of work - our Savings Plans, our Sick Time, our Unemployment and Compensation that protect Injured Workers and - yes - our Labor Laws that protect all workers.

So the next time your Union asks you to write a letter, fill out a voter registration card, attend a rally or work a phone bank, remember - it takes all of our participation to protect our jobs and what we have.

Yes, there’s a cost to keep what we have – it’s your time and talents that have to be put to good use to protect all of those benefits that have been negotiated by Labor Unions over the years.

So I ask you to please get involved.

The job you save may be your own today, but it might be your sons and daughters’ future as well.

Remember, success is more attitude than aptitude.


In Solidarity,

Earl Frampton

Communications Workers of America/AFL-CIO, Retired


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