“A union is building a group with a spirit and an existence all it’s own…. a union must be built around the idea that people must do things by themselves, in order to help themselves” – Cesar Chavez
From day one I have always believed that this is not about one person solely acting on behalf of and shaping our region. It is about all of us standing united and working together as we move forward. Getting our members to become active is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity for our continued success. We have done well in engaging our members, inspiring them, and getting them active, but we must not rest on our success. We must continue to engage more and more members as the NATCA membership of this region continues a generational turn over. In order to continue our move from good to great, the member’s not yet involved will need to be inspired and motivated to step up and help shape our future.
In 2006, during the imposed work rules enacted by a hostile FAA, we reached out to our membership and asked them to step up and help us fight the imposed work rules. Our members who had been accustomed to us doing everything for them had no idea what to do, how to do it, and why they needed to do it. This situation was largely brought about as a result of some beliefs and expectations that a dues paying member should just pay their dues and do nothing else for the local, the region, or the organization.
Well, history has taught us a wonderful lesson. If you don’t engage, educate, empower, and motivate your membership to take ownership of the issues facing them then you will ultimately weaken your local, your region, and/or your organization as a whole. We owe it to the future success of our Union and our professions to engage, educate, empower, motivate and support the development of tomorrow’s air traffic controllers and tomorrow’s leaders.
How do you get your members to become active? Talk to them, and not at them. Make sure you listen to them and don’t dismiss their ideas simply because they do not conform to your ideas. Make them feel as if their input matters. Make them feel as though they are a part of a team. Take them to a regional membership meeting. Take them to Communicating for Safety or NATCA in Washington or the NATCA Convention. Expose them to the NATCA Academy classes and get them educated.
Our future successes are largely dependent on our ability to reach out to each and every member and inspire them to take ownership of their profession and their union and help pave the way towards greatness.
We have some very bright, talented, and passionate members in NATCA. What they need in order to thrive and become energetic and motivated activists are:
- A clear vision-The membership deserves to know and be an active part of our vision for the future
- Communication-We must use all available technologies to reach the widest audience possible
- Education-Knowledge is power
- Empowerment-We must empower our reps and engage them once we have educated them
- Feedback-To improve, there must be continual feedback for everyone, including myself
- Inspiration-Our future successes rely largely on our ability to inspire our members to step up and engage
- Motivation-An educated, engaged, and empowered membership will be motivated to achieve greatness
- Support-Our membership will thrive if they are made aware of the depth of support at every level; Facrep, District, Region, National
- Teamwork-We are much stronger as a team, together, striving towards greatness
- Trust-For any team to succeed, there must be trust.
As we move into the future we must continue to embrace and improve upon the activism, education, innovation, organization and unity that we have built as our foundations for success. In doing so I know that there will be no limits as to what we will continue to accomplish together. We are one of THE most active regions in NATCA. We can do better and we must do better as we prepare to deal with hostile legislative activities aimed at Federal employees.