We need you… to become a Unionist

CCE Conference, Oct 20 2018, San Francisco photo by Lori Eanes

We need you… to become a Unionist

Editor’s note: What follows is a condensed version of an inspiring presentation from our annual Classified Conference in Fall 2018

My name is Carl Williams and I am southern vice president of the CFT Council of Classified Employees, a CFT vice president, proud president of the Lawndale Federation of Classified Employees, a father, a husband… and a Unionist. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I have not always been a Unionist… 

the transition from union member is not instantaneous.

Some may think that a Unionist is synonymous with union member, and, 

in fact, Webster agrees by defining a Unionist as simply a “member of a labor union.” I don’t know if it’s ever been done, and I’m not sure if it’s even allowed, 

but I am going to challenge Mr. Webster.

Union membership is like a gym membership: To get results you have to do more than pay your dues. Just like going to the gym and participating in activities there one can transform from a weakling into a muscle-bound 

human specimen, participating in union conferences like this can change the least active union member into a Unionist. Just like a gym workout, your level of union activity will determine the result.

Being a Unionist will take you out of your comfort zone. If done correctly, you will go places you wouldn’t imagine, and speak with people you may not usually speak with. And this builds your capabilities.

Unionists have distinct characteristics that aren’t always seen in union members:
•A Unionist doesn’t ask “what has the union done for me lately;” a unionist asks, “what can I do to help the union.”
•A Unionist doesn’t look at this conference as a mini-vacation; a unionist uses it to learn, network, build capacity, and go back to the local and share.
•A Unionist doesn’t ask others what happened at last week’s general meeting; a unionist is at the meeting.
•A Unionist doesn’t watch his or her coworkers struggle at work; a unionist supports and walks alongside them.
•A Unionist doesn’t complain about the contract, but shows up at ratification votes to ensure that his or her voice is heard.
•A Unionist doesn’t ask “who is this lady Janus and why is she messing with our union?” but knows the case filed by Mark Janus and backed by anti-union forces is the biggest threat to organized labor in recent years.
•A Unionist doesn’t simply pay dues and expect the local to read their minds about how to address their issues, a Unionist leads and joins in discussions about the issues.
•A Unionist understands that his or her role in the union is just as important as any elected leader – local, state, or national.
•And most importantly a Unionist knows that they are the union

II  implore you,, to grow and make the transition from union member to Unionist.