The (Never) Ending Circus – How to go to the union? A practical guide.



It’s been a long while since I’ve written some sort of a life update. Maybe you remember that my benefits were revoked and that I was advised to appeal that decision legally. My psychiatrist didn’t approve of that proposal but at the same time I wasn’t allowed to work again. On one side there was the insurance telling me that they are not going to pay me anymore because in their opinion I was recovered enough (never been seen by a doctor!) to start working again and on the other hand there was my doctor telling me the opposite. Where did this left ME? Where was I in the whole process?


I’ll tell you. I was confused and my recovery stood still. I spend some days at the union to find out what exactly was going on. I’ll fill you in on the process how to obtain some information while being not really in a good head space. With some practice you learn to find your way through this institution.


How to obtain information at the union? A practical guide.

The union is open in the morning between 9 and 12 o’ clock. You need to arrive a good half an hour before opening time. You walk into the corridor and ask who is the last person in line. Then you wait and you’ll see that there are maybe 10 to 20 people before you. At 9 o’clock they open the door and a line is formed. You stand quietly behind the person who arrived before you. You wait like this from 30’ to 45’ minutes, depending on how fast the people before you are being helped. You can sit down during the wait but you need to keep an eye on your place in line. Being born in the communist regime and visited Cuba 5 or 6 times in my life, I once had a Cuban lover, I know how to cue. I’m very proud of that skill.


When it’s your turn, you have your questions and papers ready of course. While you’re talking to the social worker at the counter, some people interrupt because they need a new ‘unemployment card’. That is the one thing you don’t need to stand in line for. So, you explain your problem and based on that information the social worker can or help you at the spot, give you an appointment on another day or ‘let you through’. When you’re ‘let through’ they tell you an approximate time when you’ll be seen by another social worker who can have a more extensive look at your problem. You can wait there and they call your name when it’s your turn.


Practically I go on Mondays when possible because that’s the day when the office is open between 13 and 17 o’clock and the wait is the shortest: First you wait from half past twelve to arrive at the counter at one thirty. Second wait will be till half past three, quarter to four. Then you can meet your social worker for the day for maybe 15′. As you see, this is a rather expensive hobby time wise.


I did this a couple of times, maybe 4 or 5 times before I finally got the answer that I needed to know. One time I was told to come back another day because all the social workers were taken for that day. The other time I was the last person to be ‘let through’ and it was only ten to two! What means that all the other people behind me could only be helped that day for some smaller questions. When I looked back there could have been easily 30 to 40 people standing in line.


Now you and I got some understanding how to obtain some information at the union, I’ll tell you more tomorrow on the information itself. It is a maze!


Picture credits: Poster vector created by freepik –

13 thoughts on “The (Never) Ending Circus – How to go to the union? A practical guide.

  1. I’ve had to deal with my union a number of times over the years. Some people were helpful but most weren’t especially helpful, and I always found out that the union cared about its own interests and making sure the contract was followed to the letter, and they didn’t care much about individual union members.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is quite the maze to move through. I’m happy that they sorted some of the papers out for me because I can’t concentrate to look everything up on my own (now).
      The service in itself depends on who is helping you so there is no way getting wiser yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My union luckily doesn’t put people through the maze. You’re automatically assigned to deal with either the person responsible for your worksite or the person who deals with the specific issue you’re having.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Gosh, you’re a patient lady! If one has to speak tp the DWP in the UK, the Department of Work And Pensions, the benefits agency, one can look forward to an hour’s wait. But at least that is over the phone. I have never ben a membr of a union.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For me it’s the first time too. I joined when my benefits were revoked and I was out of options.
      Oh the DWP, well that is one maze they helped me with because it is one maze of papers and forms. You need to understand the specific laws to know which papers need to be filled in. It felt like a fulltime job!

      Liked by 1 person

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