There are 7.2 million public-sector union members across the U.S. More than 1.15 million are in California. These groups are large because of the benefits they provide employees. Unions are a valuable resource for their members. From contract negotiations to employee grievances, they protect employees that are rarely seen in non-unionized workforces. The largest public union in the country is the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). How do these organizations work to represent their members?
Unions are present in federal, state, and local governments. Each works to advance interests and protect the rights of its members. Members pay union dues for representation
For the organization to operate, members participate in the process to establish the union’s goals. Much like a representative democracy, this requires letting leadership know their thoughts on bargaining issues that benefit the overall group, such as, general salary increases, paid leaves, and other related issues that affect their working conditions. These requests are then negotiated with local, state, and federal administrations.
However, during COVID-19, the role of the public employee union has changed. Many employees, including APC members, began working from home. Unit 4 employees now face unprecedented times as they try to complete their duties for the CSU safely and effectively as they start to return to campus amid the ongoing pandemic. Academic support staff need APC in their corner more than ever that the CSU is bringing back their employees and everyone wants to provide a safe and healthy working environment..
Being active in your union is the best way to voice your opinion and safeguard your rights as a university employee.
What is Collective Bargaining?
The state’s collective bargaining law legally protects union members in California. This law ensures that every worker has the chance to negotiate with the administration on issues like general salary increases and working conditions. The right for employees to bargain together is also afforded through the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (NLRA). At the time, Congress passed the act to protect workers’ rights. Section 7a added collective bargaining in 1947 under President Truman.
Since then, public unions have flourished. This is because they allow employees to protect their interests and advocate collectively on behalf of shared concerns, such as workplace safety standards and professional development.
How Unions Help Members
For members, joining a public-sector union is one of the best decisions they can make. Many of the benefits afforded to the employees are not available anywhere else. The first benefit is a right to negotiate on any potential new workplace policies or laws that could affect them.
By seeing negotiations from a member’s perspective, it helps create a more productive work environment. It also ensures that public employees are treated with the respect.
Having a signed collective bargaining agreement, or contract, with an employer is another benefit to being in a union. Administrators must follow the agreement, which should specify things like working conditions, salaries, and conducting performance evaluations. Knowing that there are agreed-upon provisions of one’s employment can reduce stress.. For employers, content employees are more productive and less likely to leave.
Academic Professionals of California (APC)
The Academic Professionals of California has been in operation since the 1960’s when they were known as the United Professors of California (UPC). APC obtained its official charter in 1985 and it has a long history of championing for employees’ rights and protecting the interests of its members.
Like many unions, active membership is the leading reason behind its success. The APC Council, which consists of all campus stewards and the Executive Board collaborate with the APC Labor Relations Representatives to achieve their bargaining goals. Academic professionals have the same needs and desires as teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other public servants, to work in a supportive environment and provide excellent service to their constituents.
APC operates through a statewide Council. All members have representation through their elected local campus stewards. Each campus elects stewards who carry various responsibilities for the members they represent at the council meetings. This system of campus representation for Unit 4 provides a diverse voice for APC members.
If you want to find out more about how APC represents Unit 4 employees, look at the ”Why Join” section of our APC website.. You’ll learn how this organization is dedicated to advancing your interests and protecting your rights.