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The ‘Answer’ To Burn Out At Work ‘Isn’t Self-Care,’ It’s Unionizing - Your ‘Best Is Joining Together With Your Colleagues ‘To Build Power Collectively’ At Your Workplace

Published Monday, August 19, 2019
by Kayla Blado/In These Times
The ‘Answer’ To Burn Out At Work ‘Isn’t Self-Care,’ It’s Unionizing - Your ‘Best Is Joining Together With Your Colleagues ‘To Build Power Collectively’ At Your Workplace

It’s Monday morning and your alarm goes off.

As you wake up, the dread of going to work creeps in.

You’re feeling exhausted, stressed out, underpaid and underappreciated.

It's a mindset you can’t shake and no amount of coffee will fix: You have Workplace Burnout.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently included burnout as a legitimate diagnosis in their handbook that guides medical professionals in diagnosing diseases.

It is characterized by three indicators: Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; Increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and Reduced professional efficacy. 

So, what can be done about burnout?

“Self-care” has been touted by social Media Influencers as the best solution to restoring your mental health, no matter the cause.

Sure, healthy food, exercise and sleep are important ways to deal with stress, and we could all use more of each.

But eating a salad isn’t going to fix the systemic problems at your workplace, nor will getting a massage give you a voice on the job or increase your paycheck.

If you work at a non-profit, you might be all-too-familiar with Workplace Burnout.

Non-profits are notorious for being understaffed and under-resourced.

Workers at non-profits often have to wear multiple hats for the sake of supporting the mission of the organization and the resulting stress can take a toll on their mental and physical health.

It is important to address these workplace issues comprehensively, but there is one clear and immediate solution: Join a Union.

Being in a Union means that you and your Co-Workers work together to fix the problems at your workplace and then negotiate for solutions with management.

Whether this means collectively bargaining for raises, vacation time, better health care or more clear-cut job duties, there is an undeniable strength in a Union.

The negotiations will result in a legally enforceable Union Contract.

Unlike most Employee Handbooks, once you have a strong Union Contract, management can’t erode your pay or benefits or fire you without notice

Workers at organizations such as the Center for American Progress, Community Change and the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) have organized with the all-volunteer Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (where I'm President) in order to create strength and stability at their offices.

Recently, Workers at the New Museum and the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York organized with the United Auto Workers (UAW).

Other non-profits, like the staff at ALIGN New York, have joined the Communication Workers of America (CWA).

The non-profit industry is a growing sector in the U.S. economy and Workers are increasingly demanding the dignity they deserve at work.

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