Growing our union


As the calendar flips to May and the trees and flowers begin to bloom, I am always looking for ways that your Union can bloom and grow.

Our partners have been, and always will be, the lifeblood of this Union. You are the ones that bring strength to our organization, and I urge you to get involved with Local 655 to keep our Union strong and help us grow.

You have a unique opportunity to show the value of being Union to our community with the hard work and great customer service that you provide in the workplace every day, and I thank you for your effort. It is important to take that level of dedication and spread it, not only to the customers, but to the entire community.

In the upcoming months, a handful of our partners will be working with us as lost timers. That means instead of working for their company, those partners will be working full-time hours on a program with Local 655. Those partners will be on Union Leave from their employer, but Local 655 will pay their wages and maintain the partners Health & Welfare and Pension contributions. That way there is no loss for those partners.

In turn, the partners that are out on lost time will be working on political issues that affect so many of our Local 655 partners. Over the next few months, our lost-time partners will be getting petitions signed throughout many of the Senate Districts in Missouri in order to increase Missouri’s minimum wage to $15.00.

Our lost timers will also be collecting signatures in order to protect the initiative petition process in Missouri. Politicians in Jefferson City are doing everything they can to quiet and even ignore the voices of citizens throughout the state. The initiative petition process is the way that people have been able to ensure that their voice is heard. Many of you assisted us in 2018 as Missouri’s citizens rejected Jefferson City’s attempt to make this a so-called “right-to-work (for less)” state.

Working with us as a lost timer is just one way to help show this Union’s strength. We also need help to grow. We need you, the partners of Local 655, to tell your story. According to a Gallup poll this past year, the approval of Labor Unions in the United States is at its highest point since 1965. Be it Amazon, or Starbucks, non-union workers are starting to take the steps toward organizing.

Unfortunately, we have to educate non-union workers about the value of a Union and, in many cases, teach them that they can organize to improve their working conditions and benefits rather than jumping from one job to the next.

I love bragging about our Union benefits.  I love sharing about partners that we’ve helped.  But I don’t always look like the non-union worker that I’m talking to. Sometimes they don’t trust me when I tell them I’m a Union president. That’s why you are so important to getting that message out.

There is so much value in telling your story to the non-union workers that you come across every day. Tell the non-union retail cashier how valuable it is to be Union.  Tell your friends or family that you have great Union benefits. Tell the budtender at the cannabis dispensary how the Union protected your job.

That’s right. I said cannabis dispensary. We have two dispensaries in the area that have already voted to become partners of Local 655 and are working toward their first Union contract. We have recently petitioned for an election in another dispensary in Columbia, Mo. Cannabis is still a young and budding industry here in Missouri and the workers at many of these dispensaries are dealing with issues such as low wages, inadequate benefits and even a lack of security. All workers are better off with a Union contract.

I encourage you to be an influence at your worksite, too. With so many new employees being hired and the liquidity of today’s workforce, it is important to talk to the new employees that are coming in the door. Many of the new employees that our Union representatives meet have never worked at a job that had a Union before. Many only think of Unions in the construction trades and don’t know the value of a Union.

All too often, our new partners are overwhelmed with information when they meet their Union representative and sign their Union application. They haven’t been at the job long enough to know what questions to ask. It’s by you telling your story that teaches them and makes a stronger Union partner. The new partners can begin to see that value when you show them the ropes and tell the story of how the Union helped you or about the benefits that you’ve gained.

Many times, telling your story at your workplace is the first step in becoming a shop steward. We have quite a few locations where we are in need of a shop steward or two.

Talk with your Union representative and let them know that you would like to get more involved with Local 655. We want to keep a list of partners that want to do more and help our Union blossom and grow. You are the best spokesperson for this Union whether politically, organizing or as an advocate in your own workplace. Share the message, share your story and let’s continue building this strong Union together.

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