Perhaps the most important aspect of union membership is the ability to negotiate a contract, which is a written guarantee backed by federal law involving every aspect of your work life including practice issues, pay, insurance benefits, vacation and leave policies, hours of work and much more.
Your contract is a legally binding commitment that provides predictability, consistency and equity and takes the place of any arbitrary process management might attempt to implement.
While the contract is in place, none of its terms, rights or benefits can be altered in any way by management for the life of the agreement.
When the agreement is set to expire, both parties are obligated to begin a process of renegotiating a new “successor” agreement. All members have the right to nominate, vote for and elect members of the union negotiating committee. All members have the right to submit proposals for changes or additions to the contract. Once an agreement is reached all members must vote to ratify the agreement.
To ensure that you receive all of the rights and benefits provided by your union contract, it is your responsibility to know and understand your contract. Keep a copy of it handy and refer to it any time you have a question about any aspect of your work life.
Most important of all, do not assume that your supervisor or any member of management has an appropriate understanding or knowledge of your contractual rights. If you are confused about how to interpret any aspect of your contract, seek out a member of your union negotiating committee or our staff representative from the MNA for guidance.
If at any time you feel that your contractual rights are being violated or that management is not following the contract, speak with a member of your negotiating committee who will assist you in filing a grievance, which is the official process for enforcing your contract rights.