NSO President Brad Darjean has appointed Charmaine Champagne and Lois Tarr to fill two open Executive Committee positions. Champagne is the new Region 1 Director replacing Cheryl Singleton and Lois Tarr is the new At Large B Director replacing Tom Greene who was elected Vice President of Program.
Champagne views her Director position as a good opportunity to advocate for colleagues in her region. And her 15 years of staff experience in Louisiana, Colorado, and now, Massachusetts have given her a view of what members across the country are facing. She was also treasurer of her Louisiana staff union and president of her staff union in Colorado.
“Because I have been in more than one state, I feel I have the knowledge and experience to assure proper representation of NSO members,” Champagne said.
As an advocate, Champagne sees the anti-union political climate as the biggest challenge facing members so she has set helping members ensure the survival of their affiliates as a major goal in her new positon.
Champagne said, “I want to reach out and meet with all Region 1 presidents to see what they need and how those needs can be met. I think a key area of assistance is strategic planning when it comes to strengthening affiliates. We did extensive work in that area in Colorado. It helped us realize things about ourselves and work together for a common goal. It can help affiliates prioritize what they care about.
In 2013, NSO sponsored Champagne as she went through the Harvard Trade Union Program. “I’m grateful to NSO for the opportunity. It taught me about other unions—both nationally and internationally—and I think NSO can learn from the work of other unions too.”
Lois Tarr also brings extensive experience to her position as At Large B Director. For the past 32 years, she has been a professional consultant in New Jersey, handling negotiations, grievances and other advocacy work. She was treasurer of her professional staff union for more than 15 years and president for six years. Tarr has also served on NSO’s Special Services Committee and been an RA delegate for more than 20 years.
As an At-Large Director, Tarr will be serving all NSO members. She said, “I want to use my union experience to move NSO forward. I have been dedicated to the union for a long time and done my best for my members and for NSO. I think the members are so important. I want to be a strong advocate for them.”
Advocacy is an important issue for Tarr. “There are so many challenges facing NSO members today. We have court cases pending that would take away agency fee and destroy unions. Our members are also dealing with issues at their bargaining tables. NSO must assume the advocacy role for our members,” said Tarr.
As much as possible, Tarr wants to maintain the level of services for members. She acknowledges that over the years, NSO has lost members.
Tarr said, “Maintaining our membership is important to our advocacy work and our survival. I want to make sure that we meet the interests and needs of our members. That’s a goal I have as a member of NSO’s Executive Committee.”
Like Champagne, Tarr will work hard to make sure all members have a place within NSO. “I want members—professional and associate—to feel included in the business of NSO. My union is wall-to-wall. They’re all my members so I treat them all equally. I want NSO to do the same.”
Champagne and Tarr are filling out the term of each position which will end in June. Both positions will be up for re-election at the 2017 RA in June.