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Secretary-Treasurer's Report

A Contract is Better Than a Promise

Have you ever been promised something by your manager or supervisor, only to have it fall through later?

It may be a promise to give you more hours, let you take time off, or give you a promotion or a raise.

There are plenty of times when, for one reason or another, people in charge don’t come through on a promise they made and you’re left trying to figure out how to adapt.

You don’t even have to have a bad manager for this to happen. Sometimes your boss just might not have had all the right information when she or he spoke to you, or perhaps the final say was above his or her pay grade. Some well-intentioned managers may just not like saying no, even when they know they don’t have the authority to promise you something.

Whatever the reason, in the end it often feels like there’s not much you can do about it but hope for better luck next time.

You don’t need to rely on luck.

Sometimes a boss will come through and make good, but this is not always the case. This is why you need to be sure to get it in writing. And this is where a contract can help you.

Your time and effort has value – act like it!

When companies do business with each other, they can’t just rely on promises. They put their agreements down in writing where they are legally binding. But while this is accepted as normal for businesses, we have a harder time thinking of the work employees do as having the same level of value and deserving the same commitment and respect.

Instead of relying on awkward favors, a contract creates a way for two parties with different interests to work together. One of the most powerful but often overlooked benefits to belonging to a Union is you and your coworkers have a contract providing the same level of clarity of expectations and security for all workers.

A contract spells out all the agreements between you and your employer. This can include how much you get paid, your health care benefits, holiday/sick days, personal time off, your retirement plan, scheduling agreements, health and safety standards, staffing and more.

Unlike a company handbook, you have a say in what goes into it, and you can have the peace of mind of knowing it can’t be changed without your knowledge or input.

Contracts also help ease possible tensions between you and your managers by making it clear what the agreed upon rules are, as well as what to do if and when they are violated.

Confronting your manager one on one can end up feeling like a personal attack or criticism with someone you have to work with every day and maintain a good relationship with. In fact, some people let problems go unresolved, often creating an even greater problem in the end.

With a written contract and Union representation, you have someone to call who isn’t your boss and who can help get the issue resolved.

Never forget you’ve already earned it.

When you have a strong contract protecting your rights as an employee and enforcing the promises your employer makes, you can rest easy knowing exactly what you’re getting in exchange for your hard work.

You work hard every day. When a promise is made to you, you deserve better than being expected to just take someone’s word for it.

Solidarity Works!