Ah, February - the shortest month of the year but full of colder temperatures, ice, snow (depending on where you live), and many holidays. This month alone contains Groundhog Day, Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays (together called President's Day), a few religious holidays, and then, of course, there is Valentine's Day.
It has seemingly become accepted that this is the "right" time of the year to tell your significant other about the true feelings you have for them. Jewelry, chocolates, and flowers are purchased in abundance during this time and Valentine's Day has everyone seeing red. But why must we wait until February 14th to express our love and gratitude? And why do we only express these feelings to our better half?
As members of AMFA, you are a part of something bigger than just yourself - a craft-specific union that is full of brothers and sisters who possess common goals such as elevating the craft and continuing to better our wages, benefits, and retirement. Although we each have individual desires and issues, the role of our union is to join us together in the successful pursuit of the aspirations that we share. This only happens when we work together and speak with one voice.
Today, our Association is involved in many issues that require your support. From contract negotiations to legislative issues to normal operations, AMFA is working diligently on your behalf. This is no easy task and involves the coordination of many behind-the-scenes folks, many of whom are volunteers. They ask for no praise or economic benefit, they just want to represent the membership as best as they can. Unfortunately, many times they receive the opposite, negative criticism and falsehoods about them "scamming" while on union business. Rest assured that this is not the case. It is usually quite the opposite - any money or time dedicated to an officer or representative is generally less than what is actually deserved. The sad thing is that most of the negativity is coming from a vocal minority and from those members who are the least engaged in our democratic process.
Back to the questions posed previously. To answer the first one, you should definitely tell your significant other how you feel about them on Valentine's Day and consider doing it more often. To answer the second, you should also turn to your brother or sister who represents you as a part of AMFA and let them know how much you appreciate their dedication and service. As your elected officers and representatives go about the business that is our collective goals, let's give them the respect and support that they deserve. Be vocal in your support of AMFA, both on the floor and in your private lives. We are AMFA and we can't lose sight of the fact that unity is strength.
Your Role in Organizing
There are two reasons for you to become personally involved in organizing activity outside of your workplace. First, a healthy, effective union is one in which the members pitch in to do the work, greatly increasing the people-resources of the union. Second, no matter how skilled professional union staff may be - if there is one at all - there is an extra measure of credibility when an already organized employee speaks directly to an unorganized worker about day-to-day experiences.
The successes of member-to-member organizing are clear: one study issued by the AFL-CIO, for example, documents that unions win representation elections in 73 percent of the organizing drives conducted by ordinary members but in only 17 percent of those conducted by professional staff.