A message to RMHC members regarding Right to Work in Indiana

Dear Sisters and Brothers in the RMHC bargaining unit,

The Governor has signed into law a so-called “Right to Work” bill. It covers privately owned companies in Indiana, like RMHC.

No matter what is said by those responsible for this ill-conceived pea-brained politicians’ “great adventure,” the real purpose of “right to work,” is the weakening of Unions and the Labor Movement. That movement is your strongest and best tool for defending your right to decent working conditions, wages, job security, and for a fair and just economy for working people.

Let us be clear what this bill does and dispel any rumors:

  • Under the bill, employers at Unionized companies will no longer be required to deduct dues from the members’ paychecks once they sign a card, as a condition of employment.
  • However, the change is for all Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) agreed to after March 14, 2012. Therefore, at this time RMHC will continue to deduct dues as before. The change will come after a new CBA is negotiated in the Fall of 2012.
  • Behind the mask of Right to Work’s “freedom to choose” is the intent to make it extremely difficult for Unions to effectively collect dues. Dues are what we all chip in to fund our Union.
  • Your Union relies almost 100% on members’ dues, financially. That is good because it means your Union is controlled solely by you, the members.

“Right to Work” aims to harm Unions by depriving them of the  resources we need. But if we act on this, we will come out stronger!

The following points need to be clarified:

1. Local 73, with all its members, including at RMHC, remains the exclusive bargaining agent for workers covered by the CBA which expires on September 30, 2012.

2. Local 73 will continue to fulfill its’ bargaining agent responsibilities, including: Recruiting a bargaining committee and preparing to negotiate the next CBA; Filing and pursuing grievances including to arbitration; Recruiting and training stewards; Holding meetings where RMHC members can raise and discuss their concerns; Holding Labor-Management meetings to discuss those concerns with Employer; Fighting for funding and respect for human/social services workers and clients especially in the non-profit community-based sector.

3. RMHC workers need a strong Union more than ever.  If you want a strong Union, you will need to voluntarily continue paying your dues when a new CBA is bargained, so that your Union can survive. When 100% of us voluntarily pay dues, we will be sending a message that will strengthen our Union!

4. The bill does not forbid an agreement between the Union and the employer to deduct dues from the paycheck of a member who voluntarily agrees to it. That arrangement could be negotiated in bargaining this Fall.

DON’T MOURN, ORGANIZE!

In solidarity,

Christine Boardman, President

Matt Brandon, Secretary-Treasurer

Paul Siegel, Social Services Division Director

Tim Ball, Social Services Union Representative

Thomas Burton, Union Steward

Ruth Dekker, Union Steward

Alice Olson, Union Steward

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