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Is not being able to contact a union a red flag?

  • 26-05-2023 4:02pm
    Registered Users Posts: 13 HobbitRing

    I have never been part of a union before, so I don't know actually the norm of how they operate: I'm in the public sector, have been undecided about whether I need to join one or not, especially as the prices are rather high...though for a few months now I've tried to give it a go, but coming up at a road block: I am contacting a union to join (don't want to throw shade so won't say which one, but it's one of the big ones, in top 3) but it's like...they haven't sent me the email they were supposed to sent me, they don't reply to my emails looking for an update, when I call them they transfer me over to an answering's been going on for months. Like they are not interested in taking on new members?

    I am used to this from companies in general these days, but...I would think the whole point of paying for a union is that if you indeed are in trouble and you need their help, you will be able to reach them quickly and communication will be efficient, regardless of the outcome of your issue. Like that would be the bare minimum of what you are paying for. But if I'm just being transferred onto answering machines and never gotten back to even at the joining that not a big red flag? It's tipping me back into not wanting to bother...


  • Registered Users Posts: 28,939 ✭✭✭✭AndrewJRenko

    It's a bit strange, for sure. Do you know who are the local committee members, who should be able to help you?

  • Registered Users Posts: 13 HobbitRing

    I mean it's just their general contact information I am using, contact form, main email, main phone number...the ways they want to be contacted.

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,939 ✭✭✭✭AndrewJRenko

  • Normally local reps help get you set up, but I’m some years retired so maybe things are different now. I was a member of Forsa, originally Impact, had no issues contacting them and reps were very active around my place.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13 HobbitRing

    I don't even know what that is exactly, but it in any case, it's not featured on their website. They have Heads of Division or something, but I would expect if I contact someone like that they'll just direct me to the regular Sign Up page...

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  • Registered Users Posts: 28,939 ✭✭✭✭AndrewJRenko

    They would be your fellow staff members who have taken on voluntary roles within the union. There should be a chairperson and secretary of your local branch. Ask around with your colleagues and you should be able to find them quick enough.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,351 ✭✭✭BrianD3

    It is a red flag IMO. I worked in the PS for many years and saw enthusiasm for unions wane a lot in that time. Unions are still useful for negotiating pay agreements with government at a high level but I 'found them useless when it came to dealing with local issues.

    This (perception of) uselessness then became a self perpetuating thing with nobody wanting to become a union rep and pitiful attendance at local union meetings, weakening the union further. Also, I found that younger staff had very little interest in being in a union. Established and older staff may still have been paying a union sub (as they'd always done so) but were coasting towards retirement and apathetic about any form of industrial action or supporting younger and more junior colleagues.