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Why I joined the union: Tim Burgard, Local 4912 (LCCSSA)

“Joining the union was the only solution,” said Tim Burgard, one of the newest members to the Local 4912 (LCCSSA) bargaining unit of his reason for pursuing union representation for nine the LCC Campus Safety officers, and four dispatchers who work in his department. Despite his longtime union membership in previous careers, this is the first time he has been an active member. After seeing the need to be included in the union, he jumped in with both feet, leading the effort to join Local 4912.

“We had no protections that other employees enjoyed—we were strictly at-will, where the other employees did have rights under the contract including due process before someone was disciplined or fired,” said Burgard. “With us, they could dismiss us without just cause, so we had little job security.”

“We tried to address our concerns with the College, but were just told that we were given the same protections as the unionized employees, which was not true,” said Burgard. “The only solution was to become part of the union, so we would have a written agreement of benefits, salary and protections with the College.”

According to Burgard, the campaign for inclusion was a two-year process, which included numerous meetings with the administration, and effort to have the employees sign voluntary recognition cards, but he says it was worth it. “The day we joined the union, all but one saw an immediate pay raise, which proved what we had said all along--we were not getting the same pay and benefits as unionized employees. Now, we will have the opportunity to make proposals in future negotiations for the betterment of all members,” he said.

Burgard is no stranger to the union movement. His father, a United Grocers worker was a Teamster, and Burgard himself was a union member during his 20-year career as a police officer, first in Tigard, and later Long Beach, California.

He retired from the force, and four years ago accepted the position at LCC after moving back to Oregon to assist his elderly parents.

For now, Burgard is the de facto steward for the campus safety department, but working to recruit others to fill a more permanent position.

Burgard is devoted to his wife of 16 years, Cathy, who is also a former police officer. They met through fellow police officers some 21 years ago and have been together ever since.
Burgard is also a dog lover, having owned and trained German Shepards throughout his adult life. He and Cathy recently adopted a six month old puppy named Max. Burgard is currently training Max to be a service dog.

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