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Our vision for a stronger union

In the fall of 2020 our members voted for our leadership. This is what we campaigned on, and what we are planning to accomplish with your help.

The action we need

  • Aggressive contract enforcement: Actively targeting the most common issues
    • We will use all the resources available (including auditing the payroll information that the union already has) to actively seek out the most common payroll violations (failure to pay longevity, RIP and 'incumbent' rates, Night/Holiday/OT rules) and resolve them as quickly as possible
    • We will systematically review job duties, identify where we are performing work beyond our job descriptions without compensation, where non-union workers being used to perform our jobs
  • Building beyond our contract: Aim high and inspire
    • Through member surveys, we will identify the most pressing issues that cannot be resolved by our current contracts
      We will develop strategic campaigns that build on the power of an involved membership to win as much as we can together
  • Increase access, engagement and accountability: Because power requires member involvement
    • Update the Local's website!
    • Online participation for all Local union meetings (general membership, stewards committee and chapters)
    • These changes will also allow members to have more input in our contract negotiations
    • Ensure democratic functioning of all Local meetings: Duly raised motions will no longer be shut down
    • Emails and calls will be answered.
  • Building real alliances with the public who depend on our services
    • Local 768 will be an active part of meaningful coalition with the public who relies on our services
    • We will not only defend the services we provide in the face of 22,000 layoffs, but join with advocates calling for improved service that helps achieve racial and gender equity in healthcare, education and other public services

Our initiatives

  • STEWARDS should be the voice of the union at your worksite and be empowered with resources to carry out this role
    • Stewards will be elected by their coworkers (goal of 1 Steward for every 20 members)
    • Stewards will be provided with lists of all members they represent and the tools need to communicate
    • Stewards will distribute contract summaries and systematically survey the membership for common violations
  • Title-based CHAPTERS will be re-established
    • Our constitution allows for chapters any title-group with at least 50 members. We will encourage chapters to be established for as many titles as possible
    • Chapters will elect their own leaders, who will have the ability - and responsibility - to maintain communication with their coworkers, identify key grievance priorities where there are contractual and policy violations and hold regular meetings (including online)
    • We will support Chapters in developing their non-grievance issues into campaigns (see above, "Building beyond our contract")
  • Members will be involved in CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS
    • Chapters leaders and Stewards will be supported in developing negotiating demands, and all members will be asked to submit suggestions
    • Members will vote on our priorities before bargaining starts
    • Our negotiators will keep members informed throughout bargaining and we will recommend the greatest possible transparency allowed by DC37

Investing our dues in our members

  • Stop giving away our dues
    • We are required to pay approx 85% of our members' dues directly to DC37 and our national union, AFSCME, but in recent years, nearly 20% of the dues money that's left over has also gone to DC37 as additional 'donations'.
    • In 2018 we spent over $30,000 on artwork for 'public relations'
  • INVEST in our members
    • When additional time is needed to survey the membership, sign up new members or work on special projects or campaigns, we will fund our own shop stewards and Chapter leaders to do this work. This helps develop leadership skills and builds the relationships needed to win our more ambitious goals
    • If we need professional research or market analyses beyond what our members can provide, we will simply hire an expert, because relying on gifts and favors has not achieved our goals


Where do our ideas come from?

These common sense plans will be a big change from how Local 768 currently functions, so in that sense, they are new. But they really aren't our ideas alone: Nearly all of these proposals come out of our DC37 and AFSCME training materials, like the AFSCME Shop Stewards Handbook, Officers Handbook and Internal Organizing Manual. They are the basic strategies used by effective unions across the country and around the world.

In addition, DC37 has a proud history of encouraging internal debate and discussion, and yes, dissent. Victor Gotbaum was DC37's Executive Director from 1965-1987, and lead the union during difficult time, but was able to grow our numbers and power in the city tremendously. He knew the importance of internal democracy within our union. Check out this clip from an excellent documentary made by David Hoffman about our union (full longer segment here):