Why telling our story matters
Since February 2014, the many UAW voices amplified through PRO-Member stories have created more than 300 posts on the UAW International’s Facebook page, told the unique perspectives of many brothers and sisters in Solidarity magazine and fostered countless conversations with active and retired members about how the union impacts their lives.
In its simplest form, PRO-Member is about telling the story of our union experience through the voices of members. Many have shared on video their “aha” moments of when they first understood what being in a union is all about. For some it happened as a child walking the picket line with a parent. Others got it when they felt collective action fighting back against the bitter taste of unfair treatment from management. The light bulb went off for some when they witnessed firsthand how the power of collective bargaining saved them from financial ruin through union-negotiated health benefits.
Why do these stories matter? Because they remind us what being union is all about. Only one thing separates union members from others: We use our legal right to sit at the bargaining table with our employers and demand that they negotiate in good faith the terms and conditions of our employment. What we do with that right is up to us. Outcomes are never guaranteed. But with solidarity and a willingness to take on an issue, members are accomplishing amazing things each day. PRO-Member documents those successes and failures, because they paint a picture about who we are as a union and why we all believe in the power of standing together.
These stories help us define ourselves in our own terms. They are a great way to help understand why we believe as we do.
PRO-Member is also about strategies and ideas to rebuild our union. Through the voices of new leaders like Local 31’s Jorge Rodriguez who found an innovative way to increase membership attendance at union meetings by bringing his entire bargaining committee to shift meetings at work to recap the membership meeting. Local 977’s Amber Johnson talks on video about how she was forever changed by one fellow union member listening to her and being willing to give a hand to help another member in need. Local 1326 member Leslie Hitchcock shares a story about solidarity in the ranks that emerged from the darkest hour at the bargaining table. The stories are as rich and varied as our union itself; and each piece contributes to the whole picture.
You can find these member stories on the UAW International Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. You can also search for some of the PRO-Member content using #PROUAW. In the coming months, a section on uaw.org will feature PRO-Member content in easily searchable form. And as always, you can reach out to us directly at [email protected].
PRO-Member is about … our history.
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