Posted October 30, 2007
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What Has Your Union Done For You Lately?
By Marjorie Horne, Chair, 2007 Eastern Region Nominating Committee
Elections 2008: How often have you asked what is my union, Actors' Equity, doing for me? I don't make enough money; I am not allowed to work where I want to; health care is out of my reach, or I only need one more week, why can't I just pay it myself? Currently, democracy is being called into question on a global scale but right in our own union we can see it at work. This year we will elect or reelect members as Councillors in all three regions in all three categories. We, the members, run AEA. By serving on committees the members set the parameters for staff to follow. One of the most important, and interesting committees to serve on is the Nominating Committee. New Nominating Committees are formed in each region every year. The members of the Committees interview their peers to determine which candidates they feel will lead in the best way.
These Committees give a microscopic view into the workings of our union. If you have ever questioned what the union does, or on the other hand, want to give back in some way because the union has supported you and given you better working conditions and health care and a pension, then I urge you to join one of the Nominating Committees for the upcoming election. It is only a month long commitment and it is rewarding in every way.
Here is how to participate in the elections for 2008:
- Become a member of the 2008 Nominating Committee
Each region (Eastern, Central and Western) elects its own Nominating Committee comprised of members-at-large, Councillors and Regional Board members. This year's committees will be selected at the Regional Membership meetings on Friday, January 11, 2008 in NYC and on Monday, January 14, 2008 in Chicago and Los Angeles. To be a member of the Committee, you must be a member in good standing, qualify in the appropriate job category and be present at the meeting or have submitted a written statement of willingness to serve.
The Nominating Committee is charged with the responsibility of recommending candidates for the National Council to the membership. These recommendations are based on interviews with interested members. The Committee sets its own criterion for candidates, but in a general sense looks for candidates who have the ability to:
- Commit the time and energy necessary to do committee work as well as attend Regional Board and National Council meetings.
- Listen to both sides of issues facing the Union with an open mind and then to promote a logical conclusion.
- Articulate their personal convictions regarding issues facing the Association and finally to vote their conscience on those issues.
The Nominating Committees meet over a three to four week period beginning in late January, interviewing potential candidates and reviewing the merits of each individual to ultimately present a list of recommended candidates to the membership.
- Run for Office or Council
If you feel that you can give more time and want to have a say in how and what decisions are made this is the route for you. Every prospective Officer or Council candidate has the option of meeting with the committee or of running by independent petition. More information on this part of the process will be available in upcoming issues of Equity News.
This I feel is the most important. We have a right that is often taken for granted. The voting statistics for our union are not very high. Please take the time to have your voice be heard.