My name is Brian Hines. I have been a COWINS member for approximately 7 years.
I am asking for a personal challenge to all you members. This challenge will benefit us, and COWINS. I am asking all of us to recruit 100 plus members by July 1,2018.
I was told once, power is by numbers. The more members we have the more powerful we will be.
In April 2017, I was able to attend a meeting in Michigan with their union. This meeting was powerful. We were treated like family. We were one of 6 states that were represented there. Michigan treated all of us as brothers and sisters. Michigan went to an open shop, and still maintains a 97% membership. I can see how they are able to keep the numbers so high. I believe we can do the same. We just need to talk to our staff.
I always carry COWINS cards with me. If I see someone who I don’t know as a member, I go and talk to them. I ask if they are a member. If they are not, I explain in conversation what COWINS has done for all workers. Our pay raises, fighting for our retirement, fighting for our members in grievances or R610 hearings, and meeting with our Senators about issues coming up.
I also explain my personal stories with them on how COWINS has helped me. I explain the future and how we need to be a team and stick together. Once they want to sign up, I give them a card away from everyone else. They fill it out and I mail it. I also explain they can sign up online. However, I like the card system. This way I know they are a member when we are done.
We can do what Michigan does. All staff just wants to be heard, and their issues taken seriously. If we treat all members and potential new members as family they will want to get involved, just like I did.
So the challenge is 100 new members by July 1, 2018. I would like to see 100 plus.
Now I ask you all, do you accept the challenge. Are you willing to make COWINS bigger and better? Are you willing to show other staff and the public that we are a brotherhood?
Buena Vista Correctional Complex
Dept. of Corrections