Candidate Questionnaire #4 - Being a Labor Leader

For this election, the MSCF Elections Committee sent out a questionnaire with five questions. I’m pleased to share my responses to these questions throughout this week!

Question # 4: What are the primary duties of the President from your perspective?

First and foremost, I believe the leader of a labor union should let their passion and hope for what labor unions stand for infuse every decision they make. My first encounter with a labor union was as a volunteer organizer for the graduate students at the University of Minnesota. We lost that effort, but what I learned is that hope is a discipline. People turn to unions to fight battles that they would have no chance of winning alone. These challenges often involve more losses than wins at first, so success depends on hope, and holding onto it over the long term, even when things seem hopeless. My commitment to all of MSCF is that I will never lose hope as we face the challenges ahead.

From that, I believe it is the primary responsibility of the President to ensure the effectiveness of our core functions as a union. This includes democratic governance, contract negotiations, contract enforcement, legislative advocacy, organizing, and communications. Clearly these six core functions are more than one person can do, so my responsibility as president is also to ensure the right people are in the right places to make full use of their talents, and that the organization provides them with the appropriate resources to ensure their success.

Additionally, I believe it is the role of the President to lead and facilitate the development of short and long term objectives, help identify challenges and opportunities for the union, and set an organizational culture and vision that is productive and positive.

Further, the President has an important responsibility to ensure the organization engages with people both within and outside its ranks. This includes representing our interests to our state and national affiliates, building and maintaining relationships with partner organizations, representing MSCF at public events and functions, and leading the collaborative development of our organizational messages and strategic positions.

Finally, the President is responsible for administering the daily affairs of the union and executes policies as determined by the MSCF board of directors. In this, the President is also responsible for ensuring that all MSCF members responsible for decisions related to governance have adequate and appropriate information to facilitate good decision making. In their role in day-to-day operations, the President has responsibility for ensuring goals and objectives are met, and that the union’s resources are responsibly managed and aligned with with our objectives. Ultimately, this means making sure officers and leadership within MSCF function as a team with shared accountability toward organizational goals.

Above all, I believe the role of the MSCF president is one of service – service to our members and their needs.