New chapter learning ins, outs of unions

Chapter 73 preparing to hold elections this month

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Members of Chapter 73, OPLC, listened in during a Union 101 learning session on Wednesday.

For the members of the SEA’s newest chapter, getting to where they are now has been a step-by-step process, and an education on unions.

Last month, the Board of Directors officially approved the formation of Chapter 73 at the Office of Professional Licensure and Certification (OPLC). That came after a couple of years in which the various small boards were consolidated, then organized under the SEA, and eventually included under the Executive Branch contract. On Wednesday, members took part in a Union 101 training that will be followed by training on how to run a chapter and, finally, chapter elections.

union101b“It’s been interesting to see (the formation of the chapter) at the ground level,” said Chapter 73 member Alfio Torrisi, a field inspector for the Electricians Board. “Seeing the process through to fruition, attending these kinds of meetings, seeing us admitted as our own chapter, for me, it’s been good in the sense that I’ve been educated in the process.”

At the Union 101 training on Wednesday, SEA staffer Maddisun Barrows started by going back — way back to the 1850s — to give a history of unions. That led into a discussion of the collective bargaining law, personnel rules, CBAs, and reaching informal resolutions for workplace issues. Torrisi said he was excited and eager to learn more.

“That’s why I’m going to be volunteering to fill one of the chapter positions,” he said.

Kinny Corthell, an investigator with the Real Estate Commission, was also there Wednesday to learn more about what unions can do.

“I worked for agencies that didn’t have unions for much of my career, so this is a new experience for me,” Corthell said. “I’m interested in learning more about it. I think it’s a good addition to this agency.”

After the training on Wednesday, Corthell talked about what he hoped being part of a union would bring to OPLC.

“I’m hoping it will bring enhanced communication, more opportunities for support and training, and give people the avenue to better understand the demands on the agency,” he said.

Next week, members at OPLC will get a bit more education, this time on running the chapter, including background information on the number and nature of elected positions. Then, finally, on March 15, members will cast their ballots in a special chapter election.

Congratulations to the members on their new chapter, and thank you to those who’ve worked to get to this point.  

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