Collective Bargaining and Organizing:
Although many of the local unions conduct their own negotiations and organizing campaigns, the International Union frequently assists locals in these endeavors, as well as negotiating industry or nationwide agreements and conducting international organizing drives.
The International office, publications, public relations, and legal department also work on collective bargaining, organizing projects and, in the case of our Professional Guilds, legislative support and membership development.
OPEIU attorneys represent members and their local unions on a myriad of issues. Attorneys argue cases before arbitrators and state and federal courts.
Local unions frequently call upon the International office for legal advice related to bargaining, individual employment grievances, discrimination cases, organizing and the law.
Research and Education Department:
The Department analyzes OPEIU contracts and compensation upon request from local unions; provides information on legislation, grievances and arbitration's, the financial status of companies; provides expertise on benefits matters, etc. These activities support the work of the collective bargaining, organizing and other departments, as well as local and national officers.
The Department also conducts regional and national conferences annually to educate local union officers, stewards and members. The Department has frequently conducted specialized programs for local unions as well, for example, on leadership skills, safety and health or "one-on-one" communications skills.
Publications and Public Relations:
Publishes the membership's magazine OPEIU Connect. It also publishes the Steward Manual, Policy Statements, this new members' booklet, as well as writing various brochures and newsletters for use by the International or local unions.
Acts as a liaison with the media to publicize OPEIU achievements and union activities.
Fights OPEIU battles before Parliament or the U.S. Congress and in the provincial or state houses. It constantly is monitoring the legislative agenda and ensuring that Congress or Parliament is aware of the members' position on issues that concern their lives.
OPEIU provides scholarship funds, named in honor of two past OPEIU International Presidents who believed strongly in education and training. Both scholarships assist members and associate members to further their higher education and career goals.
The Howard Coughlin Memorial Scholarship is awarded each year to 20 members or their children for undergraduate university or college education.
The John Kelly Labor Studies Scholarship provides assistance to members or associate members who wish to pursue undergraduate or graduate degrees in labor studies, industrial relations, social science or a related field. Ten scholarships (one per region) are awarded annually.
A portion of the per capita tax to the International Union supports these very important benefits.
The Podiatrists, Guild 45, have a scholarship for Union members and their families to encourage entrance into the field of Podiatry.
A fraction of your dues is earmarked for the International Union's defense fund. The fund supports OPEIU members in Canada and the United States who are forced to take strike action, to support public sector employees in their legislative struggles to achieve a decent contract, or to assist a local union incurring unusual legal expenses in defense of its members and/or contracts.
Under the Union Privilege Program, OPEIU provides additional benefits to its members. One of the programs is a Mastercard available only to union members and associate members. Another is a union-member-only Mortgage and Real Estate program that offers competitive rates, down payments as low as 5%, strike protection and financial assistance, a first-time buyers program and more.
We also participate in a legal services program, term-life insurance plan, health needs service, loan program and union family savers program. We continue to investigate other benefits we might offer in the future.
Through your union dues, you are making an investment in the profession you have chosen as a lifelong career. OPEIU will continue to provide the services that protect the contractual and legal rights OPEIU members have earned and deserve.