Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees
What's in it for me, you might ask? Let's ask ourselves an even more important question first:
What is unionism? It's the loyalty to a union. It is exemplified in the support one provides for his/her own union, toward the principles set forth by that union. It becomes the sentiment of attachment to a union — to the principles, or the system, of combination among working people engaged in similar occupations or trades... all of whom are represented by a single voice— their union.
And what exactly is a union? Labor unions are democratic organization of workers that strive to achieve economic and political gains for their members. At a fundamental level, the concept of a union refers to an organization of workers formed for the purpose of advancing its members' interests in regard to their employment security. Even more important is recognizing that union membership levels are decreasing nationwide at great speed, as we see business corporations forging relationships with our elected officials (through Super-PAC's) strongly encouraging these public officials to do their corporate bidding... instead of fighting for America's workers. Our union voice is only made stronger by our union members, and our union members have the same voting power as the richest corporations! One vote per person is only as powerful as we utilize our votes, but we must be heard as "one loud voice!"
Loyalty, pride, and the desire to be a part of your union is what strongly exemplifies the existence of "spirit" within the union. That sense of belonging, which is what full membership provides. And who, other than your union representing you, would seek to "achieve economic and political gains for its members...?" Certainly not management! In fact, a 'union' is the only entity that exists solely for the purpose of honoring and protecting its members, in areas of a healthy and safe workplace, fair wages, medical benefits, and a secure pension when the working career is over. Sound good so for?
So, what more is available for full members, above-and-beyond agency shop status? As per our Collective Bargaining Agreement (signed by both the county administration and AME) Suffolk County recognizes AME as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent and representative for the employees of Bargaining Units 2 and 6 (white and blue collar...) In other words, as a Suffolk County employee and AME member, you have one voice that's 6,000-strong supporting you as a union member and defending your worker's rights.
Besides our most significant obligation of the Duty of Fair Representation for each and every AME member, and our commitment to honor every portion of our Collective Bargaining Agreement; there are many other benefits available specifically and only for full AME members:
- Scholarship Awards —Do you have children or grandchildren graduating high school and entering college; or who are in college over the next few years? As an AME member, you can apply for monetary scholarships for them. In fact, if you are attending college classes, you are also eligible for AME's annual scholarships!
- Discount Tickets —Does your family enjoy local attractions... but recognize the high cost of admission? AME provides special 'discount tickets' for attractions such as the Riverhead Atlantis Aquarium, Universal Studios Theme Parks; Tickets for Ducks games; BJ's Wholesale Club; and this year, again provided discounted tickets for Hershey Park, PA. (Each year, varied discounts are offered, based on attraction offerings.)
- Trips —Over the years, AME's Social Committee has organized trips to: Las Vegas, Niagara Falls, Washington, D.C., Salem (Massachusetts), Christmas trips into NYC, Broadway shows, Six Flags/Great Adventure Park (New Jersey), NASCAR Racing, Amish Village in Lancaster, PA, Splish Splash Water Park (Riverhead), the Christmas Tree Shop (Orange, CT), and to spend a day at a Yankee or Met game. Keep in mind, trips always include bus (or in the case of Las Vegas, airline) transportation, meals, and the tickets to the actual show/park/event.
- Civil Service Test Prep Classes —AME provides professional trainers to help members prepare for various NYS Civil Service Test exams, focusing on refresher courses in English and Grammar, and Math. Your union encourages its members to always seek higher positions and promotional tests.
- Defensive Driver Classes and NYS Notary Classes —Helping those members seeking to lower their car insurance rates; or those seeking to take the NYS Notary examination.
- Events at AME headquarters: classes are held regularly featuring: Zumba and YOGA.
But the most important reason for being a full member of AME: t's all about your rights as a union member, regarding the voice you hold within your union:
- The right to vote for those running for union office;
- The right to vote on any and all Collective Bargaining Agreements;
- The right to run for and hold union office;
- The right to serve on your Unit Board and/or the Executive Board;
- The right to run for Convention Delegate;
- The right to submit proposals to amend our union's Constitution & Bylaws;
- The right to serve on Committees;
- The right to serve as your worksite's Shop Steward;
- The right to take part in effective political action; choosing those candidates who have pledged their loyalty and commitment to AME members. This is extremely important when dealing with local county issues!
- And the right to attend union training/classes — to become a formidable union rep for your AME union brothers and sisters.