Hello all. As most of you know, I have announced my candidacy for the important position of Director of Research and Education for our great Union. While I have no personal issues with the incumbent, I do believe WE CAN DO BETTER and I can do better providing you what you need to be great stewards and knowledgeable Unionists. I have been asked why I don’t just wait another term and realistically, I don’t think we can wait. We have trouble keeping stewards and we have trouble getting members involved at all. I think part of the problem is because new stewards feel overwhelmed when they start and quit before they give it a fair shake. I think we can bridge the gap between steward training and jumping right into the fire with management. We can make more tools available. We can make our website more user friendly. I can’t tell you how many times I have become frustrated just trying to find information on the web site. If after 20+ years of being a Unionist I have trouble on our website, imagine how a new member feels when they try to find information, especially when they are not sure exactly what they are looking for to begin with. This LINK is where I have started with our States website and I think with the resources at National we could do so much more to provide easy access to resources.
I am at least 13-16 years away from retiring and have everything to lose if our Union is not successful. I promise I will do everything I can to improve the ability of our members to learn and hopefully retain our stewards and the attention of our membership. A member should be able to go to our website and see a quick video, showing what it takes to file a grievance and how to move forward with it properly. A new steward should be able to see a video showing a confrontation between a steward and management (on a variety of topics) and how to handle themselves without getting in trouble, while also being the most effective. We have different types of grievances these days, we need a color by numbers type of program that easily shows our stewards, what they should request, how they should compile the information and how they should write a grievance on that issue. Giving stewards some training and then sending them on their way is not good enough and we all know that our time is so limited that we have trouble being good mentors. The Research and Education Director can help bridge that mentor-ship gap with the resources the National Union can provide.
I have been active in this Union for over 20 years. I have held numerous State and Local Positions. I have been to the last 8 National Conventions and have actively participated. I have been the Washington State President for the last 10+ years. In my second year as the State President I began a Stewards College and have been tweaking it every year since. I did not do it alone. I used my network of Local, State and National friends to try and make it work the right way. The WAPWU Stewards College is now in its 9th year and receives rave reviews from its students each year. I invite everyone to check into it and ask your local to send you.
Personally, I am a married father of 4, I am a disabled Veteran and I have a Bachelors Degree in Social Sciences with a minor in HR from Washington State University (Go Cougs). I am however a lifelong Florida Gator fan from having spent the majority of my youth in Jacksonville Florida. Luckily for me Florida never plays WAZZU in any sports.
I believe my dedication to this Union is proven and my skill-set is appropriate for this position. You have a choice between accepting the status-quo or really charging into the future with an agenda for improvement. I ask that you take a look at my website, that you consider endorsing me, that you consider having your local endorse me and that you provide your ideas on how we can better communicate an education program to the field. I have a tab installed on my site just for you to submit ideas. I also have a tab on my website so that you can offer your support through volunteering. As a sole candidate running against essentially an entire National Ticket with unlimited resources, my road is a tough one. I need people in the field who can take flyers to work for me right before the ballots are mailed out. If you sign up I will send you these flyers and other campaign material.
Thank you for your consideration.
Charles P. Smith
First Name: Charles
Last Name: Smith
Union/Local: APWU – Washington State
Office held if any: WAPWU President