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Working to Preserve Everything We’re Thankful For by Pat Murphy, 2nd Vice President/Asst. US National Legislative Rep. Grand International Auxiliary

If you have been reading the articles that have preceded this one in the GIA Dialogue series, then you already have a good sense of what the GIA is all about. I would like to share a personal experience with you and explain why I joined the GIA. Perhaps you will see the value of membership for yourself and your family, as I did.

I came to understand and appreciate the importance of belonging to a union after comparing my position with my husband’s BLE membership. After working many years in the financial industry, I had no job security. My wages and benefits were not equal to those of my male counterparts, and most troublesome of all, I worked knowing that I was on my own.

In contrast, my husband’s union, the BLET, provides job security. The BLET provides protection for members along and has negotiated good wages and benefits. He is part of a larger organization that provides a united front to stand up for workers in the face of a hostile management.

In one notable instance, a group of tellers banded together and insisted they be given a raise. They did so after executives received increases because the company’s profit margins were high. In the face of this inequity, the president agreed to grant their request. However, he then instructed the payroll clerk to withhold the cost of medical benefits from the tellers’ future paychecks. Unlike my husband, these tellers were without representation and had no voice in the formidable industry they served so well. The company’s retribution was costly for the tellers and the rest of us got the message.

So the idea of joining an organization with a focus that supported a union like the Brotherhood was an instant attraction for me. Outside of the BLET itself, the GIA is one of the only organizations that could understand my railroaders’ household of unpredictable work schedules and canceled commitments.

I decided to join the GIA even though I had many other duties and obligations. There were long stretches of time when the only thing I could do as a member was to send in my dues and call my Representative or write him a letter when asked to so. My GIA sisters more than understood my situation; they appreciated my efforts no matter how small they seemed to me. So being a member of the GIA is not only easy – it makes sense. What continues to amaze me is how much I get out of the meetings that I do attend.

So at this time of year when the holiday season approaches, I add the BLET and the GIA to the list of things for which I am grateful. Combined, they are the force that keeps my husband’s job security alive and protects a standard of living worth protecting.

If this makes sense to you, then I invite you to join us now. This application will get you started. When we receive it, one of our officers will call to welcome you and to answer the questions you might have.

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