The USW has negotiated Partnership Agreements with explicit rules and objectives in the Steel, Aluminum, Container, Mining and Rubber and Plastics Industries. USW contracts in other industries contain similar participative programs.
The ideas behind worker/union participation are simple:
- No one knows our jobs better than the men and women who work them every day.
- Our jobs are too important to leave in management's hands alone.
USW members and our Union have a vital interest in making our workplaces more profitable and productive, but those efforts should not undermine our jobs, our standard of living or our Union. As a result, we work to ensure that any participative program includes:
- A strong degree of Union participation and involvement in participation processes.
- The extension of participation to "non-traditional" areas of enormous importance to our members' work life (such as investment in new plants and equipment, including the equipment selected, and decisions to expand, limit or move production, etc.).
- The right of our Union and our members to advance our goals through the partnership process.
- To gain the benefits of partnership, management needs to recognize our Union as an equal partner in decision making from the shop floor to the Board Room, and work with us to create a process that truly empowers workers.
Trained professional staff from our Districts and the international work with local union to:
- Encourage members to use involvement to expand their voice in the workplace.
- Train local union members and staff representatives in the analytical and leadership skills needed to take full advantage of the participation process.
- Enhance the skills needed to effectively lead in more democratic and participative ways.
- Provide assistance in negotiating enabling language.
- Provide leadership and training in ongoing education programs and seminars, and through District Conferences and other educational activities.