Several months ago, I blogged about my criticisms of the graduate student employees' union I belong to, particularly on the ground that the union was being unwarrantedly confrontational with the university. But, as I noted here, the union got at least a reasonable deal, certainly better than I had expected.
Now, the union has proven very helpful in a payroll issue that is affecting me and at least 15 or 20 other graduate assistants. The issue is not resolved yet, and is much too complicated for me to explain other than to say that what appears to be a new university policy means that I and several other graduate employees will not receive any money for the rest of the semester (three months' worth of paychecks). I will also point out that graduate assistants are a small minority of the union's bargaining unit (most are teaching assistants) and that it was the GA's who were most critical of the union during the contract negotiations that almost led to a strike.
The union has been very responsive to all our concerns and sprang into action the moment this payroll policy became clear.
I still have reservations about the union, but I appreciate all its assistance in this matter.