We often hear fear in peoples’ voices when they phone the union hall for the first time. There’s a hushed voice at the other end of the line, reluctant to make the call, afraid of negative repercussions. We ask for a name and there’s a pause… a beat while the caller considers whether it’s safe to give their real name. We are accustomed to getting just a first name.
When we ask for details about the problem, we have to be patient. Sometimes the story comes out in tiny, vague pieces. Afraid of giving too much away, details are disguised and identities are masked. While we may get to the real story and names eventually, it requires careful listening and a lot of reassurance. There is fear that by calling your union you have set in motion something you can’t control.
There are a few things you need to know.
- You are allowed to talk to your union!
- Your information is confidential.
- We will never, not ever, contact your employer without your express permission.
- If you have a meeting with a Shop Steward, they are bound by the same rules of confidentiality that we are here at the Union Hall. They are trained, knowledgeable and discreet.
- Sometimes the problem you are experiencing at work is not grievable; that’s a fact. Your union rep will help determine whether or not there are grounds for a grievance. If there are, the decision to proceed is yours.
- If, after discussion with your union rep you choose to file a grievance, the process will be explained to you fully before any action is taken. You need to be comfortable with the way things progress. No grievance will be filed on your behalf without your consent & participation.
- If you choose NOT to file a grievance or proceed with any action, that’s okay too. Sometimes all you need is someone objective to help you see things more clearly.
- If you are called to a discipline meeting with your employer, you have a right to union representation. Call us as soon as you are told of a meeting and we will make sure you don’t go into it alone.
Your Collective Agreement is a big document. It may seem daunting but it’s worth a read. Your workplace probably has a Shop Steward or union representative who can take some time to go through things with you if you’re not sure. If you don’t know who to call, then please call us. We’re here to help. If you are a YEU member in the Yukon, you can call us at (867) 667-2331 or visit yeu.ca to find our toll free number. And of course you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org.