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COMMON QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ABOUT THE ROOFERS UNION
Q: WHAT IS A UNION ?
Answers: A union is a group of people who join together to increase their strength when dealing with workplace issues such as fairness, wages, benefits and working conditions.
It is a democratic organization in which every member has equal say in how things are run. All actions are governed, either directly or indirectly by the membership.
Even the leadership must be elected by the membership every three years. Every member can run for any office subject to a few minor limitations in the Constitution and By-Laws. These limitations address length of time as a member (two years minimum) and certain criminal activity.
Q: CAN ANYONE JOIN A UNION ?
Answers: Yes, Union membership is available to everyone.
Q: HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO JOIN ROOFERS AND WATERPROOFERS LOCAL #95?
Answers: There is an initiation fee of $400.00 to join the Union. However if you are joining or re-joining for the first time since January 1, 1994, there is a one time only reduction in the initiation fee to $40.00 to join. Thereafter monthly dues are $25.50 per month.
Q: DO I HAVE TO PAY BEFORE I GO TO WORK?
Answers: No. We do not require any money prior to going to work. You may pay your initiation fee yourself at any time. If you don't pay it yourself the dues check off assessment defined in the next question, Are there any other costs, will be applied to your initiation fee until it is paid in full.
Answers: Yes, there is an hourly assessment of 74 cents per hour. This is only paid on actual hours worked.
Answers: Representation to negotiate on your behalf a legal contract with your employer. Current contract includes:
* Up to six months free medical coverage if you are sick or injured.
* Workplace fairness
Answers: No, you can negotiate independently with your employer for wages and benefits.
Answers: Pensions are protected by a Federal Law called the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
Under ERISA if you are not vested you may loose your pension after you have been gone as long as you were here.
Under our pension even if you have reached a “permanent break in service” (you have lost your pension) we will bring it back after six new years of continuous service. Not only will we bring it back we will update it to current value.
This is a tremendous benefit that most pension plans do not offer. What we are saying is you can get your pension back even if you lost it permanently by coming back and working 6 years for a signatory contractor. Not only that, when you qualify to get your pension credits back we will give you all of the increases you missed while you were gone.
If you were vested when you left your pension is as it was when you left. Again with six years continuous service we will update it to current value.
Answers: It is not the “union’s” responsibility to keep you working.
What will keep you working is the same thing that keeps you working now, your skills and the availability of work.
The availability of work depends on the economy not unionization.
If every contractor was union the exact same number of new roofs would be installed during any given year.
What unionization does is insure that you are paid and treated fairly for the work you do.
Unions take wages out of the competition, if everyone pays the same everyone competes at the same level.
Q: HOW CAN MY EMPLOYER COMPETE PAYING UNION WAGES ?
Answers: By basing their bids on productivity, the skill level of their employees and their ability to manage the job instead of taking from the workers.
No roofer or waterproofer is overpaid for the work they do
Q: IF WE GET PAID MORE ALL THAT DOES IS RAISE THE COST OF THE JOB, RIGHT?
Answers: Not if training is provided along with wage and benefit increases.
Through training of workers as well as management, labor costs can actually be lowered while at the same time increasing the earnings of the workers and the profit of the company.
Q: IS IT THE INTENTION OF THE UNION TO HARM OR PUT MY EMPLOYER OUT OF BUSINESS ?
Answers: No, unless your employer is a crook. We need employers they provide work and pay our members.
We do investigate and file complaints on employers who cheat their employees by breaking the law.
Our intention is to work with all legitimate contractors and help them in any way we can, so that all people in the roofing industry are able to earn a good living. A healthy, profitable contractor can sustain the decent wages and benefits all of us as roofers deserve.
Q: IF BEING UNION IS SO GOOD WHY AREN’T MORE EMPLOYERS UNION ?
Answers: There is no simple answer to this question.
For some employers it is lack of understanding as to how being union can help their business as well as helping their employees.
For others it is their need for absolute control and their fear that by becoming union they will loose some of that control.
A small minority may have had a bad experience in the past with a union.
More often than not the bad experience was not something they experienced personally rather a story they were told by another contractor or worse yet, a lawyer looking for a $250.00 per hour account.
Successful union contractors are good business people with good management skills. They see the union as an alliance that helps them from straying from their business plan and that supports them through training and other means when they want to expand or venture into other markets.
Beyond that the most common reason that more employers are not union is that employees do not realize that the decision to be union is theirs not the employers
Why would an employer would fear the decision his employees would make if they were truly given a fair opportunity to choose?
This is probably the most important answer we need ,if we are going to elevate the level of the American workplace to where it needs to be for us as well as our children who will inherit it tomorrow.
UNIONISM IS ABOUT PRIDE, PROFESSIONALISM. RESPECT, COMMITMENT, TEAMWORK, FINDING SOLUTIONS AND BUILDING FUTURES, TOGETHER
IN A RELATIONSHIP IN WHICH BOTH PARTNERS FEEL
THAT THEIR POSITION IS EQUALLY VALUED
ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE
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