Grit NW - Built Union Strong

United We Bargain - Contracts 2021

February 14, 2021 Season 2 Episode 13
Grit NW - Built Union Strong
United We Bargain - Contracts 2021
Chapters
Grit NW - Built Union Strong
United We Bargain - Contracts 2021
Feb 14, 2021 Season 2 Episode 13

Welcome to Fight Club

Fight Club is the, call to action’ segment within Grit Northwest

It’s built to educate and motivate you to protect your ability as a Union Carpenter to provide for yourself and your family. 

Fight Club is not for excuse makers or finger pointers. 

If standing proud, with your brothers and sisters to protect what’s ours is not your cup of tea, you can stop listening now.

Fight Club members care about their careers and aren’t afraid to take action to protect it. They don’t assume or expect someone else to do the heavy lifting needed to strengthen their union and better their lives. 

Fight Club members roll up their sleeves and get involved, they understand and appreciate that a union is only as strong as its members. 

We’re ready to fight for what we believe in. ……….. Are you?

Our guest today are Megan Bloch and Jeff Thorson from the Northwest Carpenters Union. In today’s episode we will discuss the upcoming 2021 contract negotiations, the science and psychology behind crafting an effective member survey and the importance of membership engagement in achieving the wage and benefit agreements that are in alignment with our members expectations.

The Show Notes

NW Carpenters Union

https://www.nwcarpenters.org/

Join Grit NW Nation here:
(could this be any easier?)
https://forms.gle/WEKcA76y3Wegmv8z7

Grit NW is a proud member of the Labor Radio / Podcast Network
https://www.laborradionetwork.org/

For comments, questions or suggestions about the show send an  email to:
[email protected]

You can also share this link to the Grit NW webpage with friends, family members or co-workers and score good karma points, you'll be a better person for it, I promise:
https://Buildnw.org/podcast

Grit NW is now on the Twitter!!
https://twitter.com/GritNw


NW Carpenters Union
United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Regional Council in the Pacific NW 6 states + 29k members strong!

The Grit Nation
Join The Nation and spread the word on how unions are building lives and careers to be proud of.

Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to Fight Club

Fight Club is the, call to action’ segment within Grit Northwest

It’s built to educate and motivate you to protect your ability as a Union Carpenter to provide for yourself and your family. 

Fight Club is not for excuse makers or finger pointers. 

If standing proud, with your brothers and sisters to protect what’s ours is not your cup of tea, you can stop listening now.

Fight Club members care about their careers and aren’t afraid to take action to protect it. They don’t assume or expect someone else to do the heavy lifting needed to strengthen their union and better their lives. 

Fight Club members roll up their sleeves and get involved, they understand and appreciate that a union is only as strong as its members. 

We’re ready to fight for what we believe in. ……….. Are you?

Our guest today are Megan Bloch and Jeff Thorson from the Northwest Carpenters Union. In today’s episode we will discuss the upcoming 2021 contract negotiations, the science and psychology behind crafting an effective member survey and the importance of membership engagement in achieving the wage and benefit agreements that are in alignment with our members expectations.

The Show Notes

NW Carpenters Union

https://www.nwcarpenters.org/

Join Grit NW Nation here:
(could this be any easier?)
https://forms.gle/WEKcA76y3Wegmv8z7

Grit NW is a proud member of the Labor Radio / Podcast Network
https://www.laborradionetwork.org/

For comments, questions or suggestions about the show send an  email to:
[email protected]

You can also share this link to the Grit NW webpage with friends, family members or co-workers and score good karma points, you'll be a better person for it, I promise:
https://Buildnw.org/podcast

Grit NW is now on the Twitter!!
https://twitter.com/GritNw


NW Carpenters Union
United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Regional Council in the Pacific NW 6 states + 29k members strong!

The Grit Nation
Join The Nation and spread the word on how unions are building lives and careers to be proud of.

Megan Bloch:

I'm Megan block with the Northwest carpenters union

Jeff Thorson:

and I'm Jeff Thorson with the contract administration department

Unknown:

and we've

Jeff Thorson:

got Grit!!

Joe Cadwell:

Welcome to Fight Club. Fight Club is the call to action segment within Grit Northwest, built to educate and motivate you to protect your ability as a Union Carpenter to provide for yourself and your family. Fight Club is not for excuse makers or finger pointers, if standing proud with your brothers and sisters protect what's ours is not your cup of tea, you can stop listening now. Fight Club members care about their careers and aren't afraid to take action to protect it. They don't assume or expect someone else to do the heavy lifting needed to strengthen their union and better their lives. Fight Club members roll up their sleeves and get involved. They understand and appreciate that the union is only as strong as its members. We're ready to fight for what we believe in, are you? If so let's get to work. Ouir guests today are are Megan Bloch and Jeff Thorsen from the Northwest Carpenters Union. And today's episode we'll discuss the upcoming 2021 contract negotiations, the science and psychology behind crafting an effective member survey and the importance of membership engagement and achieving the wage and benefit agreements that are in alignment with our members expectations. Megan Bloch, Jeff Thorsen, welcome to the show.

Megan Bloch:

Thanks, Joe. I'm excited to be here today.

Jeff Thorson:

Yeah, as well as I am.

Joe Cadwell:

Well, thank you so much for taking your time to be on the show today. I really appreciate it. And I know our listeners are going to get a lot out of today's episode. And as you know, we're here to talk about the upcoming contract and more importantly, the contract survey. So who would like to start off telling us of sort of the background on on contract surveys?

Jeff Thorson:

Joe, this is Jeff, I'll be happy to get started. You know, we've got a history of putting surveys out to our membership prior to bargaining season to understand concerns and interests that they may have and see on the job. Historically, we've had very low participation rates in the nine percentile, you know, seven percentile depending on the collective bargaining agreement and the amount of members that are affected. And over the last couple of years, we've seen a significant increase in those participation rates. And those actually contribute to the highest total package increases that we've ever seen in collective bargaining over the last couple of years.

Joe Cadwell:

So there's some sort of correlation between how many members turnout for the survey and the actual benefits that are achieved by the membership? That's pretty impressive. What do you account for that the larger number of turnouts lately Jeff?

Unknown:

Historically we had paper surveys where, you know, the council would send out letters to our members members typically don't open their mail. And they don't return the survey back to us. Because they, you know, for whatever reason. So we've gone to an electronic format, where you get a text message, it's available on our website, and you are able to click a link, enter your UBC ID number and run through the questions, answer them and then also have a one question at the end that it's kind of a catch all question where if there's anything that wasn't covered under the 10 to 15 questions in the survey that you have a platform to write whatever response you'd like.

Joe Cadwell:

So embracing technology to make things easier for members to participate seems to be paying off.

Jeff Thorson:

Yeah, absolutely. We've seen numbers again, you know, that nine and a half percent Kyle up to increase over one cycle at over 23%.

Joe Cadwell:

So in years past, Jeff, I actually was a participant on the contract negotiation team. And I remember clearly an evening where we, the folks from the team, the rank and file on the staff got together and we develop these survey questions as much changed in that process over the last few years.

Jeff Thorson:

No, nothing's changed. There. We we've spent the last couple weeks we are in the process of crafting the surveys that are scheduled to launch on February 15. For Oregon, Southwest Washington, Western Washington, Montana and Alaska. And it's the exact same way we've done it in the past where rank and file along with staff go through and go question by question and then try to figure out the information that we want to gather to build effective proposals to take forward in negotiations.

Joe Cadwell:

Megan, I understand you've had a hand in this as well.

Megan Bloch:

This year is the first year that the contract admin process has had a training to really understand a little bit more about the survey methodology. And And And as we know, the way that we craft a survey really plays an important role in the data that we do collect. So all of our bargaining staff had a training recently and one of the key points that we talked about was how do we design the questions so that we get the best data back possible so that we can really help get the best contract for our members?

Joe Cadwell:

And how would you craft a question to elicit the the best possible data from our membership?

Megan Bloch:

So this is nteresting, because survey ethodology is a bit of science nd a bit of psychology. So here are ways to craft uestions. But at some point, here's also a human element hat comes out in the design as ell. So some of the common best ractices that we would think bout when we're designing a eally good question is that hey're ethical. We wouldn't ask ny sort of unethical questions, e want to make sure that our uestions are civil, they're ree of any offensive or nflammatory language. We want o make sure that it's something hat our members would be illing to answer, we wouldn't sk a question that might have articularly sensitive nformation, because that might ias the results that we get. nd we'd also want to make sure hat the question is feasible, o our members actually have the nformation to answer the uestion? and probably most mportantly, is that the uestion needs to be universally nderstood. So if Jeff and I are aking the survey, and we are ooking at the same question, we eed to interpret that question n the same way. So that we're iving we're capturing the esponses that we want, and e're not giving different nformation to the same uestion.

Joe Cadwell:

Oh, that makes a lot of sense using the scientific approach. And also the, like you said, the human side of things to craft questions that are readily received and interpreted and hopefully, responded to. So make a new ad mentioned that it's very important for the members to have the information available to them to accurately respond to these questions, and where would our members turn to educate themselves as to the issues that they are being asked to respond to.

Megan Bloch:

So this is something that Jeff is going to touch on a little bit later about the importance of knowing your audience. And that really will help us understand the types of things that our members may or may not have information on. So an example of a really non feasible question might be, how much profit did your company make last year? Now, that's something that people might think that they know or that say they've heard around their job site. But that's not a question that we could accurately rely on for our members to have the information for example, they don't get a look inside their their company's books. So that really wouldn't necessarily be a feasible question.

Joe Cadwell:

So if I understand you correctly, Megan, these questions are designed really to get the best possible results out of our members who take the survey. And why wouldn't when given the opportunity, our members choose to just take the highest amount possible when it comes in regards to wages?

Jeff Thorson:

Joe, several members actually do shoot for the moon, we have a survey results for 2018 in Western Washington that show that, you know, 29 and 34%, say 4% or higher, where you look at everybody else, the three, two, and there are 30 32%. So when you average everything out, it ends up being about 4% is what the average was. And when you look at the what was achieved at the 2018 cycle, it was 5% per year one 4%, year two and 4%. year three. And understandably, we have a lot of contracts a lot of area that are within our council that is going to be open for wage openers, and just overall master contracts.

Joe Cadwell:

So and Megan, when it comes time to craft these for individual areas, what what do you take into consideration when you when you do that?

Megan Bloch:

That's a great question, because what we do know is that the better targeted our survey questions to our bargaining unit, the better information that we're going to get. So a few of the things that we want to think about is really who are the people in the bargaining unit. Some of our bargaining units have 40 members, some have I think, 13,000, and the the knowledge, the experience, the education, the years and the union, those all vastly vary from bargaining unit to bargaining unit. So it's really important that we get to know our bargaining unit and really know our audience, before we go into the survey crafting process so that we can figure out how to really target those questions to the people that we're talking to.

Joe Cadwell:

That seems to reinforce the council's commitment to engaging the rank and file membership to be part of the contract negotiation teams. And that's why so much emphasis was put on the recruitment and education of our members. And that's what Jeff and I, we talked about last time you were on the show.

Jeff Thorson:

You know, quite frankly, you know, this is a pretty demanding process for our rank and file members. I mean, we've spent several weeks here in training, you know, we went through the introduction to negotiations, we went through the council process, we had community caissons training, we're in the process of developing and grabbing the surveys right now. And it they take a lot of time in the evenings that folks aren't getting paid for this is they're volunteering their time to participate in this process. And so kudos to those bargaining committee members that have stepped up and are going to the table with us, we really appreciate your efforts there.

Joe Cadwell:

And the importance again, of actually taking the survey cannot be overstated. When are our members actually going to be receiving these contract negotiation surveys.

Jeff Thorson:

So at this time, February 15, is the scheduled launch date, they're going to be open for two weeks through March 1, text messages, social media, our website was just the 2021 contract pages is now available on our website, it's been set up to where we've got several agreements throughout the year that are open. And there, it's set up in a way where you can see what the current status is, you can see when this survey is coming, you'll be able to see what the results of the participation levels of the survey are. Once we get to a tentative agreement, that cover letter is going to be posted that the tentative agreement will be posted, there'll be a voting link. And then you'll also see the voting results there. So really easy to look through and understand. It's not on the front, there's not a front link currently on the website now. But if you go to for members, and you look under contracts, you'll see contract 2021 and click that link and it'll be available there,

Megan Bloch:

I'll just add that it is absolutely critical that we get the most number of members to take this survey, that's a really key part of survey methodology, you have to have a sample that's representative of the entire population, if we really want to make sure that we're addressing all of our members needs. So when we have bargaining units of 10,000, folks, and we only get one or 2000 surveys back, that is only representative of that small group that 10 or 20% of those members. And so for this process to make sure that we're really representing our members, well, we need folks to participate and tell us what they want.

Joe Cadwell:

I definitely believe in that. And it also just shows a strong message of solidarity and unity within our ranks when sitting across the negotiation table with the contractors who need to know that we mean business when we come to the table. And there's no better way to show that than saying, Yeah, we had a good 6070 80% of our members engaged in the survey. They are aware they are passionate about their futures in the futures of their families. And we need to show that that sign of strength. And I think again, though, all the work you're doing and getting the surveys designed to accurately reflect what our members feel important. And the embrace of technology to get that information out to our members is admirable. And I really appreciate you to being on the show today to talk about it. So again, if members are interested, listeners are interested in finding out more about the 2021 contract survey, where would they turn to?

Jeff Thorson:

Yeah, nw arpenters.org, Contract dministration, contract 2021, s well as the contract dministration Facebook page.

Megan Bloch:

And Joe, Jeff, and I want to issue a challenge to all of our members This year, we're asking that not only does every member take the survey, that we're asking you to get to other members on your job site to take that survey as well. Now, because it is coming out via text message, you can just simply share that text message with anyone on your job site. And Heck, you can even get that message open, have that member enter their UBC ID number and fill that survey right out with you. Now in order to make sure that you get that information and get that survey to your phone, you do need to make sure that your information is updated with your local union. So if you've changed your phone number or your address or your email at all, please make sure to give them a call and get it updated so we can make sure we get you that information.

Joe Cadwell:

That sounds like a fantastic idea. I love the thought of a challenge. Well, again, Jeff Thorson, Megan block. Thank you so much for taking your time to be on the show today. I look forward to having you back. Again. We can talk more about the results of the survey and where we're going to go next with that information.

Megan Bloch:

Thanks, Joe.

Jeff Thorson:

Thanks, Joe.

Joe Cadwell:

Our guest Dave and Megan Bloch and Jeff Thorsen. Our call to action is to fill out the survey and encourage others to do so as well. Only by joining together in this important component of being a union member. Can we let our collective voices be heard? Now let's get out there and fight