Union Counselor, by Cindy Daniel

     This web page offers our union members, another avenue to contact your Local, if you find yourself in a particular situation in which you need advice or help with your everyday family/personal life. Whether it is a disaster problem, medical situation, bills or whatever, UNION COUNSELORS can offer you assistance with any problem you may have.
     The service is just another one of your many union privileges. It is confidential, between  you and your UNION COUNSELOR. The information/assistance you are given, will never be released to anyone, without your personal consent.
     The UNION COUNSELOR program is a joint partnership between our unions, central labor counsels and the United Way. One which few members know about. But when the program is needed, it is there to help each and everyone of us.  Why should you contact a UNION COUNSELOR to assist you? One reason is, because they already have  established contacts with all of the various agencies to assist the members with whatever the situation might be. 
      Here is another, through our donations to the UNITED WAY http://www.unitedway.org, there is a special fund set up for UNION MEMBERS only, designated to assist all of us.
      Most employers have Employee Assistance Programs (EAP's) set up for crisis situations. You call their 800 number and a stranger, whom you do not know, answers the phone. They promise you confidentiality, but do you get it? More than likely you won't. Federal law states that any service your employer is paying for, they have a right to all records and details.
     How many of you have ever been involved with the company EAP's or know someone who has? Were you afraid that everyone at work would know? Or, that your credibility at work might be jeopardized? Maybe even your job?
     Through your UNION COUNSELOR, you are offered the confidentiality that you expect and deserve. Your employer will be told the absolute minimum if and when they need to know. Your stewards and officers will not be aware of any assistance or referral you will receive.
     In addition, any agency that your UNION COUNSELOR puts you in contact with, must also follow several federal and state mandated guidelines for confidentiality. The guidelines state that they may not release any information to anyone, without your expressed consent.
     With the union counselor program, our membership has information available to help our members in times of need. 
     I would like to share some information with you from the Consumer Credit Counseling Service. 
     A speaker in my counselor course said that mail fraud is increasing, and you need to take some steps to protect yourself against it.  It is extremely dangerous for companies to be able to request a credit report about you without your knowledge.  That is how you get mail about signing up for a lower interest rate credit card, and the checks that offer you the ability to sign & use them. He said that if someone picks up that letter, signs your name, and starts using the card you are responsible.  A very scary thought, especially since we were getting at least one of these offers every day in our mail at home.
      SO, I am enclosing the following addresses for your information.,
     Write a letter to the credit bureaus and ask that the letter be placed in your file.  In the letter, state that you do NOT want your credit report released to ANYONE without first notifying you by phone & in writing.

Associated Credit Bureaus
Attn:  OPT-OUT
1090 Vermont Ave, N.W. Ste.200
Washington, D. C.  2005-4905

Include your full, current address & social security number.

Three credit agencies that will send you a copy of your credit report are:

Equifax Credit Information Center
P O Box 105873
Atlanta, Ga.  30348
800-658-1111
Fee: $8.00
Free for anyone who has been denied credit within the last 60 days.

Trans Union Corp.
(National Consumer Relations Disclosure Center
P O Box 390
Springfield, PA  19064-0390
316-636-6100
Fee: $8.00
Free for anyone who has been denied credit within the last 60 days.

Experian TRW Complementary Report
(formerly TRW Information Services)
P O Box 8030
Layton, UT  84041-8030
800-682-7654  or 800-422-4879
Also an $8.00 fee

One last bit of information that Mr. Mike Tank of the Consumer Credit Counseling (753-0535 ext. 326)
shared with the class, is how to get off the mailing & phone lists. 

Contact:

Stop the Mail
P O Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008

Telephone Preference Service
P O Box 9014
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9014

Please feel free to use this information, and pass it on to family and friends.

I would like to thank "You", the union membership for sending me to the United Way/AFLCIO counseling course.  Remember, I am available to help in a time of need. 

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