What is a Union Delegate?
A union Delegate is an employee just like you. They have a job to do every day, and they answer to the same management that you do.
The key difference, though, is that a union Delegate has the training, the tools, and the protections to help you and other employees solve problems at work!
If you think you have a problem, then perhaps your Delegate can help you. He/she has been trained by the union and has special legal protections to enable them to stand up for employees when management isn't being reasonable.
The job of a union Delegate involves:
When you think you're in trouble. If you have a meeting with management that you believe is an investigatory interview with the possible purpose of taking disciplinary action against you, you have the right to have your union Delegate at the meeting. This is also known as your "Weingarten Rights."
When you have a problem that needs solving. A term you may be familiar with is "filing a grievance." A grievance is an allegation that management has violated the terms of the contract. Not every problem is a violation of the contract, and not every problem requires a grievance. Your Delegate may have other ways, both formal and informal, for solving problems.
Your Delegate will make sure to inform members about what's going on in the union - by handing out informational leaftlets, putting information on the union bulletin board, and by simply talking to people. Your Delegate also plays the role of feeding your ideas and issues back into the other parts of the union, such as the staff, Vice Presidents and Executive Officers.
Your Delegate will work to make sure workers understand their rights, the contract, and any important issues the union is working on.
Organizing and Mobilizing Members
This is considered the union Delegates' #1 job. The strength of our union at any point in time is simply the total energy and support of the members who can be mobilized. When more members get involved, we can accomplish more - at our workplaces as well as statewide. All the other work Delegates do - representation, communication, and education - is done with an eye to strengthening and increasing involvement in the union.