United Services Union
|United service union
|legal form||unregistered association|
|founding||March 19, 2001|
German employees union ,
German postal union ,
trade union, banks and insurance companies ,
IG Medien ,
union public services, transport and traffic
|main emphasis||Union for service professions|
deputy Andrea Kocsis and Christine Behle
|Members||1,955,080 (as of December 31, 2019)|
The United Service Union ( Verdi for short , proper spelling : ver.di , pronunciation: [ ˈvɛʁdiː ]) is a German union based in Berlin . It was created in 2001 through the merger of five individual trade unions and is a member of the German Federation of Trade Unions (DGB). With around two million members, it is the second largest German trade union after IG Metall . The quota for women is 52.40 percent - Verdi organized 1,024,444 women and 930,637 men. The union employs around 3,000 people nationwide and earns around 479 million euros annually through contribution payments. Verdi is subdivided into ten state districts and thirteen, from 2022 five, departments and is headed by a nine-member federal board. The first chairman from the foundation until 2019 was Frank Bsirske , who was followed by Frank Werneke in September 2019.
The establishment of the new union had been in preparation since 1997, beginning with the Hamburg Declaration by six unions (initially the education and science union was also on board, which left in 1998) on October 4, 1997. From November 17 to 19, 1999 The delegates decided in five trade union congresses held at the same time (DPG in Bremen , DAG in Magdeburg , HBV in Bremen, IG Medien in Kassel and ÖTV in Dortmund ) to advance the founding process. On March 16, the ÖTV was the first of the five sub-unions to vote for its dissolution, followed by the four other unions on March 17.
Verdi was created on March 19, 2001 through the merger of five individual trade unions, all of which, with the exception of the DAG, previously belonged to the German Trade Union Federation (DGB): German Employees' Union (DAG), Deutsche Postgewerkschaft (DPG), Trade Union, Banks and Insurance (HBV) ), IG Medien - Print and Paper, Journalism and Art (IG Medien) and the Union of Public Services, Transport and Traffic (ÖTV).
The driving force in this process was Roland Issen , who wanted to end the unproductive competitive thinking and struggle among the unions. In 1987 he was elected chairman of the DAG. At the 1987 DAG federal congress in Hanover, he shook hands with the other unions to work together. There were first confidential discussions with the chairman of the DGB and the individual trade unions, and his work soon had an impact. The DAG was accepted into the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) in 1990 with the approval of the DGB . This was followed by cooperation agreements between the DAG and the ÖTV trade union in 1994 and with the HBV in 1995, and just three years later the foundation stone for Verdi was laid with the Hamburg declaration of the later founding unions. This process took over 10 years because the merger was only possible with great approval. Setbacks also had to be overcome time and again. The desired goal of a single union for all service professions could not be achieved. Within the DGB, ver.di competes with the GdP for customs officers, with the GEW in the areas of social education and science and with the IG Metall in IT professions. Outside the DGB, the German Association of Officials, the Marburger Bund and the aviation trade unions organize often more successful employees in their areas than ver.di was able to achieve. Members of some professional groups feel that they are not adequately represented in a multi-sector union.
The highest organ of Verdi is the Federal Congress, which meets every four years. It lays down the principles of trade union policy, elects and exempts the federal executive board and the trade union council. The union is divided into levels, departments and groups of people. Departments and groups of people have their own organs and committees at local, district, state and federal level. This matrix organization is intended to map both the organization in its entirety and the interests of the individual professional groups. On June 23, 2017, the Verdi federal board presented its position on the future of the departments. By bundling them into four large departments instead of the previous 13, a more sensible area presence is to be achieved. The union council has on 29./30. November 2017 also decided on the rollout of the separation and realignment of collective (company work) and individual trade union work (member support) and thus set a fundamental course for the future work of Verdi. Equality between men and women is laid down in the Verdi statutes for all organizational units. This has been a central theme of the union since its inception.
Union Council and Federal Executive
Between the federal congresses, the trade union council is Verdi's highest body. It consists of representatives of the state districts, the departments as well as women, youth and senior citizens. The trade union council monitors compliance with the statutes, approves the annual budget and financial statements and controls the federal executive board.
The federal executive board takes on all activities that are not reserved for the federal congress or trade union council by statute. He runs Verdi's business and represents the union internally and externally. The federal executive board consists of a chairman, the heads of the departments and up to five other members. In 2019, the committee comprised fourteen people.
State districts, districts and local level
The organizational level closest to the members is the local association (OV) or, if several locations are combined, the regional association (RV). They are intended to promote and simplify the cross-departmental trade union work of the members. Nationwide districts exist above the local level, which in turn are subordinate to the state districts. They decide on the regional layout of districts by mutual agreement, while state districts are set up by the trade union council. There are ten districts in Verdi:
- Baden-Wuerttemberg State District - in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg
- District of Bavaria - in the state of Bavaria
- Berlin-Brandenburg district - in the federal states of Berlin and Brandenburg
- District of Hamburg - in the state of Hamburg
- District of Hessen - in the state of Hessen
- Lower Saxony / Bremen district - in the federal states of Lower Saxony and Bremen
- Northern district - in the federal states of Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
- District of North Rhine-Westphalia - in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia
- Rhineland-Palatinate-Saarland district - in the federal states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland
- District of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia - in the federal states of Saxony , Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia
Departments and groups of people
The departments are based on the industries of the members and take on the "tasks of subject-related member and company-related interest representation". The departments determine their internal structure themselves and have their own statutes, which require the approval of the trade union council. There are 13 departments:
- Financial services
- Supply and disposal
- Health, Social Services, Welfare, and Churches
- social insurance
- Education, science and research
- Federal and State
- Media, art and industry (including the German Union of Journalists , Association of German Writers and International Artists' Lodge )
- Telecommunications, information technology, data processing
- Postal services, forwarding agents and logistics
- Special services
Within the individual departments, specialist groups and specialist commissions can be formed in order to particularly promote the specific interests of individual professional groups.
In addition to the departments, the Verdi statutes provide for so-called groups of people to be formed at the district, state and federal level . There are eight groups of people:
- Foremen, technicians and engineers (around one percent of the members, as of 2017)
- Solo self-employed people in Verdi receive advice and networking services from mediafon GmbH.
- At Verdi, migrants are predominantly members who do not have German citizenship or who acquired it later. The nationality and other criteria of group membership are recorded on a sheet attached to the welcome folder. This new type of data collection was not coordinated by the Verdi federal administration with the group of people.
- Seniors are all Verdi members who have retired from professional life. They are organized in senior groups and, according to the statutes, have full participation, election and voting rights in all committees. They support the union in collective bargaining rounds and strikes. Around 17.1 percent of the members are senior citizens and pay a reduced contribution of 0.5 percent of their retirement income. Seniors can work on the local senior citizens' councils.
The tasks, structure and membership of the individual groups of people are regulated by guidelines issued by the union council on the proposal of the respective group.
Membership numbers and structure
From 2001 to 2017 the number of members fell from 2.81 to 1.99 million. When it was founded, there were many people in the register; Bsirske puts this group at around 300,000. Observers judged that Verdi recruited new members "comparatively well", but could only retain them to a limited extent. Even before the merger of the five individual trade unions in 2001, there was a struggle with decreasing interest, especially among employees and women. In 2003, the reduced number of members meant that Verdi had to cut jobs itself. But this was also due to the fact that after the merger in the Verdi administration, many structures existed more than once. In 2007, the federal congress instructed the board to take measures to stop or even reverse the decline in membership. As a result, the “Chance 2011” campaign was launched. In 2012 it was continued in a comparable form under the title “Perspective 2015”. In fact, in 2015 union representatives spoke of an “end of the decline in membership”, which applies at least to the new federal states . However, the end of the decline in membership did not occur until December 2019.
tasks and goals
The union's principles were set out in the policy statement by the union council on March 18, 2010.
Verdi is committed to safeguarding and shaping the working conditions of employees through collective agreements . In the past, Verdi has spoken out in favor of maintaining the collective bargaining unit several times because this promotes the assertiveness of the workforce and the acceptance of collective bargaining autonomy . Verdi refuses to intervene in the workers' right to strike and has announced that it will take legal action against relevant legal restrictions, including before the Federal Constitutional Court . As part of its collective bargaining policy, Verdi is particularly committed to promoting equality between women and men. Gender mainstreaming also plays a role when making appointments to one's own board . Another goal of Verdi's collective bargaining policy is the equalization of wages and pensions in the old and new federal states and support for the DGB initiative “ Gute Arbeit” .
Verdi's collective bargaining policy was widely received in the media , primarily through labor disputes in the public sector . In 2005, Verdi implemented a new collective agreement for the public service in the federal government and municipalities ( TVöD ), and in 2006 for the employees of the federal states ( TV-L ), thereby replacing the collective agreements that had previously been in force in these areas, in particular the federal employee collective agreement BAT . The main content of the new collective agreements was the abolition of the separation of employees into white-collar workers and blue-collar workers and the elimination of various regulations from civil service law, e.g. B. also the family-related components.
In 2007, Verdi and the German Association of Officials launched a three million euro advertising campaign under the motto “Enough saved”. In the run-up to new collective bargaining negotiations, these should publicize the services of the public service. After a wave of warning strikes and several rounds of negotiations, the arbitration was called in March 2008 . Although this failed, Verdi finally agreed on a new collective agreement with the federal, state and local governments. The union pushed through an eight percent increase in wages, which some observers considered a heavy burden on public finances. In the wake of the 2008 collective bargaining dispute, Verdi gained 50,000 new members.
Social policy and social insurance
The realization of social justice and equal social opportunities is an important goal of Verdi. The overarching activities are bundled in the Labor Market and Social Policy department . Here not only current political issues, but also campaigns against poverty in old age z. B. "Pension must be enough for a good life", supported and provided information on self-administration and social choices. Verdi successfully participated in the social elections in 2017. Members are active as self-administrators in the administrative boards and their committees in the health insurance companies as well as in the professional associations and in the representative assembly and on the board of directors as well as insurance advisors for pension insurance .
With the internet platform "www.sozialversicherung.watch", Verdi has established a nationwide dialogue between the members of the self-administration in DAK-Gesundheit , Barmer Ersatzkasse , Techniker Krankenkasse , Kaufmänischem Krankenkasse - KKH and Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund and those insured there. The members of the self-administration provide information about their activities and support insured persons with inquiries and concerns to the administration.
Benefits for members
If they take part in a strike called by ver.di, Ver.di members are entitled to strike money and free legal protection in all questions of labor and social law. In cooperation with the German Tenants' Association , Ver.di offers free telephone advice on tenancy law. Ver.di members can have their income tax return prepared by the income tax service. The income tax service is a voluntary additional offer from commissioned volunteer colleagues and not a service based on membership. In relation to the tax authorities, the legal responsibility for the implementation of the income tax service lies with the Ver.di federal administration. The membership fee also includes a recreational accident benefit in the form of a daily hospital allowance of 25 euros per day, for a maximum of 30 days.
The prerequisite for the use of all services is of course membership in ver.di, usually at least six months, and payment of the statutory contributions.
Ver.di maintains a number of centers for trade union education work nationwide . Its purpose is to promote the exchange of members. The offer is aimed in particular, but not exclusively, at active works councils and staff councils as well as other elected officials, e.g. B. Members of the severely disabled and youth and trainee representatives. For members, costs for seminars that are carried out by Ver.di as educational leave are generally covered by the membership fees. In addition, professional and general further training on a wide variety of topics takes place in the training centers. There are training centers in Berlin , Bielefeld , Brannenburg , Gladenbach , Mosbach , Naumburg (Hessen) , Saalfeld , Undeloh and Walsrode . The Hörste location was given up at the end of 2015, and refugees have been living in the building since then.
In addition to the educational centers mentioned, there are independent educational institutions in several federal states that were taken over from the former German salaried workers' union.
Verdi education + advice
Verdi Education + Advice, Verdi b + b for short, is a nationwide Verdi education provider that conducts employer-financed seminars, conferences and meetings for statutory interest groups, i.e. for works council, staff council and JAV members as well as members of the severely disabled and employee representatives. In addition, seminars are offered for the electoral boards of the elections for the statutory interest groups (works and staff councils, JAVs), the costs of which must also be borne by the respective employer. Verdi b + b has been tested and certified by the independent institute “Learner-oriented quality testing in further education”.
As a book publisher, Verdi b + b publishes advice, work aids and legal commentaries.
The company's headquarters are in Düsseldorf. Verdi b + b is represented in 25 locations across Germany.
The subsidiary "Rat.geber GmbH" advises committees and operates the public bookshop in the Verdi federal administration in Berlin.
Verdi is a member of many international trade union associations, for example
- on a global level: the UNI Global Union , the International Transport Workers 'Federation , the International Journalists' Federation and the International Public Services .
- at the European level: UNI-Europa , the European Transport Workers 'Federation , the European Journalists' Federation and the European Public Service Federation .
Verdi issues a number of regular publications. The member magazine Ver.di Publik appears eight times a year with a circulation of 1.9 million and is distributed free of charge to all members. The editor-in-chief is Maria Kniesburges . In addition, there are around two dozen other periodicals that are published by the individual departments and groups of people and are usually sold as supplements to the public . The dju in department 8 (media, art and industry) publishes the trade journal M - Menschenmachen Medien . Some of these publications can now also be read in digital form as e-paper , PDF or via the Verdi app .
Since Verdi was founded, there has been repeated criticism of the complex organizational structure: As early as 2001 , Der Tagesspiegel warned of the threat of "frictional losses". The world on Sunday also reported "friction and budget wrangling". The daily described the Verdi matrix model as "so complicated" that even full-time Verdi employees could "only explain it with difficulty". Departments, regional associations and districts would work “more against each other than with each other,” according to the star . Criticism of the organizational structure was also repeatedly voiced from within the company's own ranks and taken up as part of the “Perspective 2015” initiative.
Critics also accused Verdi of campaigning for employee rights and fair wages in public, but not pursuing these goals in-house: The canteen in the Berlin headquarters is operated by the international catering company Sodexo , which usually does not have any branches -, but instead concludes in-house collective agreements. According to information from the Neue Ruhr Zeitung , employees of the Verdi-affiliated German Salaried Employees Academy were paid under the tariff that Verdi had negotiated with competitors such as the AWO or the Diakonie . Verdi's actions during strikes are also repeatedly the subject of criticism. For example, there were isolated cases in which employees had been obliged to strike, which the union rejected. In addition, some of Verdi's strikes have been described as disproportionate.
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