Cathy Repola: Members Are Calling for Change. Here’s How We’re Answering.


The last couple of months, I and the rest of the Guild leadership have been focused on the strategic plan to build a better union, which I outlined in my video to the membership in January.

For me, this work started leading up to and during the ratification vote when it became apparent there were some differing opinions within our membership. In December, the Board voted to conduct an in-depth analysis of the process and outcomes during last year’s Basic Agreement negotiations. That is ongoing, and we have made great progress. The goal is to identify areas where we need to improve, as well as what went right. It has been an educational and insightful process, and you will hear more about it in the future.

By the time you read this, you will have received a membership engagement survey. I hope you will take a few minutes to complete it. I have been working closely with the Membership Outreach Committee to identify short- and long-term goals. We will use the survey results to hone in on main goals and to create the timeline we need. This is our key focus right now.

We hope the survey will identify and reinforce our collective goals so we can establish a timeline paired with tasks for every step along the way.

We are considering conducting focus groups, contract education classes, a steward program, and more. It’s only with majority participation that we can identify what you, the membership, really want this union to become, so be sure to help us do that.

I want us to build the kind of union that will make you even prouder to be a member. I believe real change is possible, and the very close margin on the Basic Agreement ratification vote is proof that many members are calling for change. We hear you and are moving forward with a strategic plan to deliver that. But real transformation takes time.

We must never lose sight of striving to do more, to be better, to be willing to challenge the status quo, to be imaginative, to be open to transformation. Change sometimes feels uncomfortable, but change is the only way to move forward. We must embrace whatever it takes to achieve our goals and to continue to work toward them, even if we feel stymied by unanticipated setbacks and other things that may be out of our control.

This is not going to be an easy process. In fact, some of these tasks will indeed be challenging. But we must persevere and not be complacent if we are to succeed. This isn’t just about preparing for the next Basic Agreement negotiations. While that’s part of our plans, our scope is bigger than that; it’s really about building a better union, creating an environment where you realize that you are the union. This is your union, you can take ownership of it, and I want to help you do that.

To do the work needed to make our vision a reality, we must listen to differing opinions, compromise, come together, and work towards creating the union that many of you envision.

For those of you who are already engaged, I thank you for your efforts and hope you will continue. And for those of you who are not yet engaged, I hope we can find new and exciting ways for you to get involved. I look forward to our work ahead. You may remember that during the ratification process, I talked about our need to build an army — metaphorically, of course. So I hope to see you in our bootcamp.

Retirees’ Luncheons — May 9 (New York), May 15 (Los Angeles).