At SEIU Healthcare, we believe that sometimes there is no one better able to reach workers than our own members. Our members do a great job at making the important personal connections with other non-union health care workers in their field, and can relate to them and understand their struggles better than anyone else, since they too were once non-union employees looking to improve their working conditions. As a result, the Member Organizing (MO) Program was created.
The member organizing program incorporates the strength of our members’ ability to make that personal connection with workers, along with the vision that SEIU Healthcare makes to non-union healthcare workers. That vision is for our empowered members to create positive change in the lives of non-union workers.
Member Organizers (MOs) are members of SEIU Healthcare, who come from all of our healthcare sectors, from hospital to long term care, from community care and retirement homes. Often new members who are not currently involved in other union activities join the MO Program; it’s an opportunity for our members to learn new skills and to become leaders not only within the program, but when they return to their workplace.
MOs take leave from their work for a period of time, and work directly with other health care workers who are interested in forming a union in their own workplace. They interact with workers one on one and explain to them that things can get better, that it doesn’t have to be this way. MOs give workers hope.
Mahalia is a SEIU Healthcare member from our community sector, and is currently on leave helping workers organize their union at a retirement home. “It has given me the zest to want to help more and more employees who wants to see a change for the better in their workplace. I have come to realize that not only can I offer support to others, I also get to be a part of an organization that helps and support young people who are less fortunate. I have come to realize even more that I have a voice and that voice can speak volumes for others who are not as outspoken as myself. I also realize that I can be a positive motivator and inspiration to others.”
Being part of the MO Program, Mahalia has been involved in many campaigns, volunteered at a pay equity rally and used her new skills in the provincial election.
For Mahalia, the most important aspect of the program that she has learned is she can have a positive influence on others and can be a true leader.