If you’re going to participate in the union decisions that affect your workplace life, you should do so intelligently. This means taking the time to learn about the union and the issues it is dealing with on behalf of the members. If you don’t have a copy of the union contract, get one and look through it, at least enough to get a good idea about what topics are covered and what the specifics are. Make a mental note not only of what rights the union is already in a position to protect but also what improvements you’d like to see in the next round of bargaining.
—Adapted from The Union Member's Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer.