One of Indiana congressman Dan Burton’s earliest memories is hearing his mother being beaten by his father. He was five or six years old, when he was awakened during the middle of the night by loud noises:
"I heard the sound of furniture being shoved across the room and a lamp crashing to the floor. Then I heard my mother’s bloodcurdling scream." Every nerve in his body stood on end. Terrified, he laid there thinking, "My God, it’s happening again."
"For almost a decade, my father beat my mother nearly every week. Anything seemed to set him off: jealousy or rage over something that hadn’t gone his way. He’d start by saying horrible things to her. He’d rip her clothes off and throw her down. Sometimes he literally knocked her unconscious. Afterwards, her face and eyes would be swollen and bruised. He’d put wet cloths on her face to wake her up. I’d hear him consoling her, saying he was sorry, that it would never happen again. But of course it did."
Burton’s story is a familiar one to the estimated 3 million to 10 million children who witness family violence in their homes every year. Although parents may try to hide the fights and beatings from their families, the children inevitably know what is happening. One child therapist compares children to a "highly sensitive recording device that is capable of remembering the abuse that occurs in his or her home whether or not he or she has witnessed it directly and whether or not abuse is openly discussed."
MASE/CWA would like to urge its' members that if they are in a volatile relationship or a victim of domestic violence seek out help now.
The Mississippi Coalition against Domestic Violence was founded in 1980 by domestic violence shelter programs and advocates for battered women to help all victims of domestic violence. If you are in need of assistance, Monday –Friday;8am to 5 pm, please call 1-800-898-3234 and after those hours please call 1-800-799-7233.
GET INVOLVED; STAY INVOLVED, THERE IS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS!!!
The next Legislative session is a critical one and much is at stake for state employees in terms of pay and benefits. A few things we will be working on with Legislators are:
-Maintaining Health Insurance Program at present cost and level of benefits
-No privatization of state employee jobs
-Adequate funding for all state agencies at existing or improved staffing levels
-Job security for all "State Service" status employees
You need to explain to your fellow workers that united TOGETHER, we can make a difference and get the attention deserved from lawmakers; attention to issues that impact you and your families.
Pay, dependent health care costs, equitable reimbursement in dollars or service credit for accrued agency compensatory time when you leave state employment, and an end to the practice of requiring you to take a day of Personal leave prior to using Major Medical leave and the adoption of a statewide policy that deals with the deployment and maintenance of non-first responding agency employees in the period preceding and following a natural disaster (Hurricane Deployment Policy).
Clearly, attempting to use employees who have a need to evacuate themselves and their own families (current practice in some agencies) is not a workable solution. ALL of these issues are important to MANY state employees and with everyone working together with your union staff we can make a difference in all state employees lives.
YOUR union must have your help! Work to sign up a new or reluctant state worker as a member of MASE/CWA. On your own time, at lunch or on a break, advise fellow workers of the many benefits of MASE membership.
MASE/CWA is the ONLY union that fights for the almost 30,000 state employees during the Legislative session and all throughout the year. We stay on top of what happens, when it happens and act promptly to support issues that help you and defeat issues that do not.
Read further down this page for tips on how to talk to coworkers about joining the union.
I and the MASE/CWA staff cannot do this alone. JOIN THE FIGHT, stand NOW and be counted!
Recent economics have been hard on all of us, but we need to make an investment in building for our future and the security of our jobs. Those of us who are earning the least and working the hardest are actually the ones who need the union most of all.
The question is no longer, can we afford to join the union? The question is, can we afford NOT to? It is not enough to just pay union dues, but we must become more active in the mobilization of MASE/CWA or otherwise, we will be standing by and watching our standard of living drop further and further.
MASE/CWA has had many accomplishments. We have fought to improve the pay for all state employees, winning a minimum of over $9000.00 in pay raises since the union began in 1989. We have successfully fought legislation that would privatize state facilities and eliminate state services and state jobs and we have supported legislation on a variety of benefits and worker's rights.
But what we can accomplish depends on how strong we are. A lot of injustice still remains on the job. You can only make the union stronger by encouraging your co-workers to join the union. The level of strength of our union will grow only if non-members join the union and if all members become actively involved in building the union in our workplaces and reaching out to workers in other agencies. Your right to organize and join the union is a right that is GUARANTEED by LAW.
Now we are still fighting to stop the governor’s efforts to strip some agency employees of the protections they are afforded by the State personnel Board. In the instance of State Personnel Board protection, Section 25-9-127, of the Mississippi Code of 1972, Annotated, as amended, provides, "...that the tenure of an employee with permanent state service status shall be continued during good behavior and the satisfactory performance of assigned duties." Beyond this, if a reduction in force is required due to a shortage of funds, policies and procedures are in place at the State Personnel Board to accomplish this. There is no need to change existing law, policies or procedures. The governor simply wants the legislature to give agency heads a "hunting license" to fire any employee they want to fire.
We implore each of you to join in our fight to defeat further attacks on state employee rights by this governor. Ask your co-workers to join the union. Participate in union activities and encourage your co-workers to participate also. As we proved with the success of getting the state employees' health insurance funded, union members united, will never be defeated!
City workers in Vicksburg, MS are now more than 3/4 of the way toward obtaining the needed number of interest cards to seek union recognition from the Mayor and Aldermen.
Workers have met every month at LD’s Restaurant in Vicksburg to continue mapping out their work sites and learning how to effectively communicate with their coworkers on why a union is needed. In the month of September, they worked very closely with the union leadership on developing ideas on the best way to have a meaningful conversation with those coworkers who have never been in a union and worked under a collective bargaining agreement. Workers expect to complete this phase of the organizing campaign by the New Year.
Over the spring and summer workers have come together to re-establish their commitment to the union. This entails being dedicated to the union’s cause by continuously speaking to non-members about joining and achieving accomplishments through solidarity around issues important to them. A core group of the members are interested in planning events and mobilizing like never before to affect changes in their pay, benefits and rights on the job. The first thing that they have learned is that these changes will not happen overnight but over the long haul.
There are a number of divisions within the city of Jackson contacting the leadership of the union asking what they must do to get involved. Efforts are currently underway to get them signed up and trained on how to build a majority within their workplace and to identify and train union stewards for representation.
The best and most successful way to win the pay, benefits and rights on the job we need from the Legislators is to have a LARGE, STRONG membership base. Signing up members is the most important tool union members have. The more members the union has, the more impact with the legislators, the more strength, greater voice, etc.
But it is not easy getting co-workers to join, many workers do not understand what influence and power a well-organized union can have on the Legislature. Some of your co-workers feel that since YOU are a member of the union, and doing all the fighting, they will just sit back and reap the benefits of your struggles. You must NOT let this happen. Fight back against their apathy.
There are many causes of apathy, but apathy can be overcome.
Some causes of apathy:
If we blame people for the apathy, they just become defensive or even more apathetic. But if we understand why a particular person feels apathetic, and work through it with them, we may be able to help overcome the problem that is holding them back.
Our own activism can give us some positive ideas to counteract apathy:
Collective power to improve conditions, a way to solve problems, a chance to participate in planning and decision making respect and self-esteem, a chance to work with people in an equal, democratic and supportive manner friendship and feeling of belonging, a sense of purpose and being a part of a cause bigger than any one of us.
Have a plan to contact every non-member in your office. Write down who you talked to, in most cases, several members should talk to the same workers we are trying to sign up. If they are reluctant, ask if they will tell you why. We need to know why each person has not joined the union and what he or she is concerned about. Follow up on your conversation with the worker, encourage them again to join. This should be done on your own personal time, for example, at lunch, on your break, or after work.
Below are some helpful suggestions for talking with co-workers: