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I'm a Voting Delegate.

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm a voting delegate for our union. Ask me what that means and I'll tell you that I haven't got a clue!

I went to our annual union meeting and dinner last night and during the voting for various union committies and positions I see my name along with 15 others on the "voting delegate" ballot. Before I had a chance to ask what that entails the election was past and there I sat....a voting delegate.

All I know is that sometime in 2010 I get to go on an all expensed paid trip where my salary is replaced too! Ok, so it's no place glamorous. It's only about yay far (-----------------------) from where I live, basically a 2 hour drive. But heck, it's all expenses paid and salary replaced!

So anyway, can anyone shed some light on what a voting delegate is? Our contract comes up for renewal in September this year, but I anticipate that we will have another one in place by the time we go on this conference weekend.
post #2 of 13
I'm sure I don't know since I'm very anti-union, but it sounds like you might just have to make sure people get out to vote when the need arises.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
I'm very anti-union,
Really? I used to be too but then I saw what a union actually does for their members. It's not only about wages. Yes, that's important, but it's about so much more. It's about making sure there is adequate staffing so that people aren't being worked into the ground. It's about work place safety and health and making sure the working environment is safe. It's also about fair practice. There are times when an employer will try and pull a stunt that is completely illegal, and the union has your back.

Once I understood all of that, I became very pro union. Currently my pet peeve where I work is the inadequate staffing and the fact that we're all being worked into the ground trying to do the work of 2 people each and 12 and 16 hour shifts etc. So in order to help improve things I am now on the workload/staffing committee. I would like to see changes to our staffing base line and hopefully as a member of this committee I can see that come about.
post #4 of 13
I'm still anti-union. I've seen the unions destroy manufacturing companies with their demands. Look at what they've done just to the auto industry alone.

After WWII there was a need for unions and they did a good and useful job back then. Now the union officials are lining their own pockets while the union members go on strike, lose wages, put companies in jeopardy and the list goes on.

Not only that, if I go to work for a unionized company I am required to pay union dues even if I do not want to belong to the union. I have no choice and that is just wrong.
post #5 of 13
^ I agree about having to join a union whether you want to or not. That IS wrong.

I have mixed feelings about unions because I was let go from a union job for unbelievable petty nonsense and the union did absolutely nothing. For 15 years I paid dues and they waved goodbye. Granted, they were a necessity years ago. However, I don't think it's right to expect people to work overtime without overtime pay, work 6-7 days or 10-12 hour shifts or not get breaks or lunch. But I don't think unions are as strong as they once were so they don't fight much for workers rights AND still expect dues.
post #6 of 13
For me, it depends on the union. The union I was in was awful! They threw me under the bus quite a few times. I am no longer union and it makes me very happy-- I'm not in a union position so I don't have to pay dues for nothing too. Now on the other hand, my dad is a Teamster and his union used to be very strong. They had some corruption issues and now are trying to work back to where they were, but they are still stronger than the union I belonged to.

Back to your question, Linda, I am not sure what a voting delegate is. I tried to be more involved in the union I was in and they wouldn't let me (I wasn't in a position that they would allow any power to-- you had to be a housekeeper and I wasn't).
post #7 of 13
A voting delegate means that you are authorized to act as a representative for your work group. You also have voting privileges within the union or in behalf of your work group - I think?
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
Not only that, if I go to work for a unionized company I am required to pay union dues even if I do not want to belong to the union. I have no choice and that is just wrong.
It's not wrong. You are reaping the benefits of working there. Benefits that the union fought for, so it's only right that you contribute to that union.

Now on the other hand if you went to work at a unionized company and they gave you the option of not participating in the union and not paying dues, you shouldn't be receiving the same wages or benefits as the unionized members. I doubt many people would take a job where they did the same work as someone else hired on the same day but opted to be part of the unionized employees and as a result earned 25% more pay and had better benefits than you did.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pipersjo View Post
I tried to be more involved in the union I was in and they wouldn't let me (I wasn't in a position that they would allow any power to-- you had to be a housekeeper and I wasn't).
We have a very good and fair union. They aren't over bearing and really try to be reasonable about our requests for improvements and advancements. They don't go in with a greedy hand either. They look at other Provinces and what the nurses there are being paid and they only seek equity, and they are more than happy to have members actively associated with the Union.

We just finished getting a whopping 15% pay increase over an 18 month period which brought us up to 4th place out of 10 Provinces where salary is concerned. We aren't going to go asking for another pay increase. I believe the Union is wanting to negotiate on behalf of our pension which currently is not indexed with inflation: Meaning that if I retired now with a $1,000 per month pension (which I would have to currently pay $400.00 in taxes on, obviously more as the years tick by), that if I live to be 100 years old, I would still be getting that same $1,000 pension despite the fact cost of living will probably have gone up 50% by that time.
post #10 of 13
Not really sure what all a voting delegate's job entails, but congrats Linda! Sounds like it'll be a nice little trip away from home for you when that time comes around!
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
We have a very good and fair union. They aren't over bearing and really try to be reasonable about our requests for improvements and advancements. They don't go in with a greedy hand either. They look at other Provinces and what the nurses there are being paid and they only seek equity, and they are more than happy to have members actively associated with the Union.

We just finished getting a whopping 15% pay increase over an 18 month period which brought us up to 4th place out of 10 Provinces where salary is concerned. We aren't going to go asking for another pay increase. I believe the Union is wanting to negotiate on behalf of our pension which currently is not indexed with inflation: Meaning that if I retired now with a $1,000 per month pension (which I would have to currently pay $400.00 in taxes on, obviously more as the years tick by), that if I live to be 100 years old, I would still be getting that same $1,000 pension despite the fact cost of living will probably have gone up 50% by that time.
I worked for a large company that had one unionized location out of 40. The other 39 locations were paid better and got better benefits than the unionized location. I know that for a fact because I worked in Human Resources. The company made dang sure that any non-union folks were better taken care of than union folks.

My daughter worked for a unionized place and wanted no part of the union but was forced to belong and pay into the union. She tried applying for non-union jobs (which by the way were better and higher paid jobs) but unfortunately lacked the schooling and knowledge to get them. She finally just quit that job.

Your example is perfect for showing how unions are making things so bad for the economy. When companies have to come up with a 15% pay increase over 18 months while the economy is in such bad shape, other people in other industries are losing jobs, plants are closing down and the list goes on, someone is going to have to pay for that 15% pay hike. It's no wonder they have to lay off nurses and divvy up the work to who is left. It makes it easy to see why you are understaffed and overworked. They can't afford to pay for a full staff or they would have to close their doors. My point exactly on why I don't like unions. The rest of Canada are lucky if they get a 3% increase and most will get less.

As for seeking equity with the other provinces, I highly doubt the cost of living in Winnipeg is even close to the cost of living in Toronto or Montreal so I don't see why someone in Winnipeg needs the same pay as someone in Toronto or Montreal to have equality of living.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
Your example is perfect for showing how unions are making things so bad for the economy. When companies have to come up with a 15% pay increase over 18 months while the economy is in such bad shape, other people in other industries are losing jobs, plants are closing down and the list goes on, someone is going to have to pay for that 15% pay hike.
We've taken our hits here. In the mid 1990's nurses here making top salary were making less money than they did 15 years prior in the early 1980's. And work conditions had deteriorated too. Not only was there a roll back, but during that same period where once we were at top salary we didn't get a pay increase for 10 years! That's 10 years without a raise! I don't know a company that doesn't give their employees a raise of some sort at least every couple of years, if not every year. Even if it's a token 10 or 15 cents per hour. Then not so long ago they rolled our salary back again and took away some of our vacation time.

Quote:
It's no wonder they have to lay off nurses and divvy up the work to who is left. It makes it easy to see why you are understaffed and overworked. They can't afford to pay for a full staff or they would have to close their doors. My point exactly on why I don't like unions. The rest of Canada are lucky if they get a 3% increase and most will get less.
Manitoba isn't laying off nurses, actually we're begging for nurses. Calgary is the one laying off nurses. They are top in Canada for wages. Unfortunately due to 75% of their oil fields being unworkable for whatever the reason (I don't pay attention to that stuff), it's affected their economy in a big way. That and the fact that for decades they relied too heavily on them and they didn't collect provincial tax from their citizens. Now they are in a pickle and have to lay off not only nurses, but other workers in other areas too. Manitoba could easily absorb many of those nurses because we have a dire staff shortage.

So far as the employer not being able to afford to hire more staff, that is not the case at all. There isn't the staff to hire that is the problem.

The average age of nurses in Manitoba is something like 48 years. Apparently according to the last meeting I attended about 25% of Manitoba Nurses are eligible to retire but don't because they can't afford to.

New Grads tend to run off to the USA where they are, depending on where they go: paid more, have better benefits, better contracts, better bonuses, better shift premiums etc. And many that do graduate with their BN degree do not want to work in the "trenches" and do bedside nursing so they take management positions where they get paid bigger bucks and work Monday to Friday day shift, no forced over time required.

Quote:
As for seeking equity with the other provinces, I highly doubt the cost of living in Winnipeg is even close to the cost of living in Toronto or Montreal so I don't see why someone in Winnipeg needs the same pay as someone in Toronto or Montreal to have equality of living.
We aren't getting the same pay as Ontario. Ontario makes way more than we do. In addition to that their full time equals 65 hours less per year than ours. They're benefits are better than ours, and they don't have to spend hundreds of dollars every year renewing their nursing license or being audited each year to make sure they have attended continuing education classes/seminars etc as a requirement to renew their license.

So far as cost of living here while not as bad as Toronto, it's still horrendous and our wage increase has been behind the times where that is concerned. The average 2 bedroom fixer upper here can't be had for under $200,000. 10 years ago that same house would have been $50,000. A 4 bedroom house that would have sold for $150,000 10 years ago no costs well over $500,000. I've been apartment hunting thinking I could find another 1 bedroom apartment for under $500.00 because in 4 years my rent went up $320.00 per month! Even the dumpiest of 3 story walk up apartments in unsafe neighbourhoods are going for almost $500 per month if not more. Food prices here went up 90% last year. And thanks to the high price of oil and gas last year, everything else went up too. But since oil and gas has decreased in price, all of the increases that went into affect during that time still remain (increased rent, rentals, food, utilities, consumer goods etc)

Anyway, you seem to have your mind made up and based on my past experiences with such matters, nothing I say will change that. You're certainly entitled to your opinion I'm not going to say more on the subject and I'm certainly not going to justify anymore than I already have, Manitoba's need for the wages we are getting.

To those who have answered my question about what a voting delegate is, thank you The thread has served it's purpose.
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
Anyway, you seem to have your mind made up and based on my past experiences with such matters, nothing I say will change that. You're certainly entitled to your opinion
I will agree with you on this point.
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