Why BCGEU staff reps won’t be providing contract interpretation and advice on this forum

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BCGEU HQ
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Why BCGEU staff reps won’t be providing contract interpretation and advice on this forum

Post by BCGEU HQ » Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:07 pm

A number of you have asked that area office staff reps participate in this forum and answer questions from members. In theory, we understand how convenient it would be to get professional contract interpretation and advice from an area office staff rep through the online forum. But, in practice, it can introduce a series of problems that we need to avoid.

First of all, the forum is staffed by Research and Interactive Services reps. We specialize in communications and campaigning and have a broader knowledge of the BCGEU and our members. We don’t have the level of field services expertise or background on specific worksites to properly answer all of the questions that might come up.

Secondly, each steward has a designated staff rep who knows the assignment better than a staff rep who is unfamiliar with the collective agreement and workplace. If a staff rep on the online forum gave advice that contradicted the rep assigned to the worksite it could cause confusion and major problems for both the steward and the reps involved.

While we can’t use this member discussion forum to replace the relationship between stewards and their assigned reps, there is still a lot of value in members sharing knowledge and advice with one another. There are a lot of new stewards who would benefit from hearing from more experienced stewards. Sharing best practices on a variety of issues that arise would be useful to just about any member of the union. The forum is also a good place to share information about events and campaigns with one another.

This discussion forum is a member-driven initiative coming from a resolution passed at the last BCGEU convention. It’s a unique place for members to talk directly to each other regardless of where you live or what kind of work you do.

Other than answering questions on workplace issues, which we can't do here, how do you think BCGEU staff can best support this forum as we get it off the ground?

Erin Sikora
Digital Campaign Specialist
BCGEU Research & Interactive Services Department

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