What Are Committees?
The committee system is a way to organize the union. More accurately, it is a way to assist members to organize themselves.
Any member can join their workplace committee. Union organizers hold committee meetings once or twice a month. The first few meetings are used to build up committee membership, and to train committee members in organizing techniques and committee organization. Once the committee is up and running, the importance of the committee system becomes apparent. The energy of all the members of any union workplace can be focused towards different goals – solving problems with management, contract negotiations, organizing new hotels and political action.
The greatest benefit of the committee system is the union’s ability to communicate quickly and effectively with all of the members in any given workplace. If the union needs information about the workplace, they can call a committee member, who in turn talks to the members in his/her department and then reports back. When the union needs to get information out, the committee members carry the message. Being organized also helps union negotiators “count noses” during negotiations, so an accurate picture of member support can be taken.
The committee system is being used very successfully in H.E.R.E. Locals in Las Vegas, New York, Boston, Los Angeles and other cities. Now it has come to Hawaii.
The effectiveness of the committee system was proven during the 2002 City Wide Hotel negotiations. Committee members from every Waikiki hotel attended every hotel negotiation, so that they could report back to their own members regarding all the negotiations. That way, when they were called on to support members in other hotels, they knew about the issues, and were more enthusiastic in their support.
How to Join a Committee
Any member can join a workplace committee just by attending the meetings. Just call the union at 941-2141 for more information.