Without a doubt, the members of USW Local 3657 are the smartest technical and clerical staff in the labor movement. We have some of the most innovative communicators, boldest campaigners, and sharpest researchers working in the American labor movement (or any other progressive organization for that matter). Our education and health and safety programs are second to none. And our clerical staff in each department keeps the work moving and makes it all happen.
But the attacks we are facing are unprecedented and the work that we need to do together is vital for the future of working people in the U.S. and Canada.
One of the things that has helped to make sure that we continue to be the smartest union staff in the labor movement is the Tuition Assistance and Professional Development Program that Local 3657 bargained into our contract years ago. The program provides for up to $2,000 per year in tuition and fee reimbursement ($1,750 for tuition reimbursement and $250 for expenses) for members of our local union who participate in educational programs.
Because we know that not all of the skills we need can be learned in a classroom or at a university, two years ago we expanded the Tuition Assistance Program to cover the cost of conferences, trainings or seminars.
Many members of our local union have participated in the program. Over the past two years, at least 22 members of Local 3657 have taken classes through our Tuition Assistance Program.
For some the program has been a path for promotional opportunities, for others the program has allowed us to sharpen our skills in our current jobs. The program is available to any member of Local 3657 who is interested in taking classes so if you want to expand your skill set to be able to do more for working people think about participating in the program.
If you want to learn more about the program or get some ideas about how you could expand your skill set fill out this contact form or talk with a representative of Local 3657 and we will try to help you identify educational opportunities that could be available to you.
Reviewing Our Performance and Getting Paid for Knowledge
Two years ago we also implemented a new, optional, Performance Review Process that would allow any member of USW Local 3657 in Job Class 13 or higher (Resource Technicians and above) to request a performance review from their supervisor to determine whether or not they should be granted a promotion. If the 3657 member requesting a performance review is not granted a promotion, their supervisor will provide a work plan (which may include educational programs available through the Tuition Assistance Program) to expand and deepen their skills in order to become eligible for a promotional opportunity.
Relatively few members of Local 3657 have taken advantage of this review process but over the past two years, at least three members have requested reviews and received promotions through the performance review process.
If you are interested in having your performance reviewed you should contact your supervisor or the personnel department to request a review. If you request a review and are not given a review or if your work is reviewed and you are not granted a promotion or a work plan, please contact a member of the Local 3657 Grievance Committee and we will file a grievance on your behalf.
Members of Local 3657 in the clerical job classification have the option of participating in the Pay for Knowledge program to receive pay increases of as much as 9% over their base pay. Clerical employees can earn a 3% pay increase for earning Microsoft Office Certifications in any three of the following programs: Word, Excel, Outlook or Access. We organize periodic trainings in the headquarters (and available online live to members in the field) to make these programs accessible to members of our local union (we are planning another round of trainings this winter). Alternatively, members of our local can choose to use the Tuition Assistance Program to receive reimbursement for the cost of other online or in person courses aimed at preparing you to pass the Microsoft Office Certification exams.
The United Steelworkers is a great union and we have great members. We have the smartest staff in the labor movement and through our Tuition Assistance, Job Performance Review, and Pay for Knowledge Programs we have the opportunity to get even smarter and do even more for working people in the US and Canada.