Change Will Aid Communication, Allow More Workers to Get Involved
The SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Board of Directors has approved the consolidation of several Department of Transportation chapters, which will improve communication and give DOT employees a more unified voice.
The consolidation will leave two DOT chapters, Chapter 3, which includes office staff from the Morton Building along with Materials and Research staff, and Chapter 17, which consolidates maintenance staff along with Mechanical Services and Traffic workers.
Dan Brennan, the president of Chapter 17, said the workers now consolidated under Chapter 17 were part of Chapter 3, Chapter 48, and several regional chapters. The change should make it easier for these workers to come together and advocate for changes on work issues that are important to them.
“One of the issues we’ve been having is I don’t know anybody from any other district, or for that fact, any other bureau within the department,” he said. “With some members being added to other chapters, I have no easy way to reach them. I have to go through their chapter president every time I need to talk with somebody.”
In addition to workers from Mechanical Services and the Traffic bureau, the consolidated Chapter 17 will include the highway sheds, turnpike sheds, bridge maintenance crews and the Transportation Management Center.
“Everybody maintenance-related will be in the same chapter, and it’s a state-wide chapter, because there are hundreds of locations where we work,” Brennan said. “It’s hard to nail down where everybody is, so the hope is to travel around from district to district, and hit the different sheds and meet different people. We want to get other people involved, and we have a couple ideas we’re throwing around about how to do that.”
Brennan said that many people in the new chapter don’t have email at work, so if news from the union isn’t printed out, it’s hard to keep everyone in the loop. And if people aren’t in the loop, then it’s difficult to get them to, for example, call their senator to make sure their department or contract gets funded.
“What it really comes down to, is we’re trying to educate people on the issues that affect all of us,” Brennan said.
We thank the members at both DOT chapters for all the work they do, and congratulate the new Chapter 17 on its efforts to get more members active in the process.