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From Worksite Leader... to Organizer: Your Role in Building the Future.

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Presentation on theme: "From Worksite Leader... to Organizer: Your Role in Building the Future."— Presentation transcript:

1 From Worksite Leader... to Organizer: Your Role in Building the Future

2 2 Some givens... Effective internal organizing is a priority. Internal organizing is... Turning potential members into members, members into activists, activists into leaders. Why is internal organizing so important?


4 4 Internal organizing is... ENGAGEMENT Person is given reason to become interested in/pay attention to the union.. I ACTIVATION / RECRUITMENT & RETENTION Person begins voluntary action in support of the union Person joins and remains a member. I INDUCTION Person is oriented to union/comes to know its history, structure, values, etc. I CONTINUAL ACTIVATION Person continues voluntary action in support of the union. I SECONDARY LEADERSHIP Person assumes a formal leadership role. (Building site team, committee and task force work, etc.) I PRIMARY LEADERSHIP Person advances to highest levels of union leadership. (Site rep, area or program coordinator, union officer, etc.)


6 6 You are the key to overcoming... Isolation and indifference (not apathy). Fear and sense of futility about the future. Lack of true understanding about the union and the power of solidarity and collective action. BUT... This may take some reconsideration of your role and what it takes to be an effective worksite leader.

7 Transactional vs. Transformational Rational Benefits, services Passive Marketing, sales Talking, selling Event Union is protection Members join the union Member Psychological Issues Active Relationship, experience Listening, connecting Ongoing activity Union is power Members take a stand! Unionist


9 9 Number 1: Make It Clear: The Union is YOU, Your Members and Your Potential Members Language is important—Don’t third party the union. Seek to involve all in the union’s work. Celebrate success and mourn disappointments as result of collective action and resolve (or lack thereof) vs. attributing these to individuals.

10 10 Number 2: Your Role: Leader/Organizer vs. Contact/911 Caller Important: Traditional role of keeping people informed and referring issues to leaders/staff. Tantamount to building power: Enhanced role of inspiring commitment and connection to the union and its work. Don’t be The Lone Ranger. Use members as your organizing team.

11 11 Number 3: Your Keys to Success: Visibility, Leadership, Relationships Your personality is more powerful than your persuasion. People are hungry for leaders and will respond to those whose motivations are true. Seek people out and take interest in them as colleagues, as people who want to be the best they can be and do the best that they can do.

12 12 Number 4: Listening is Your Primary Mode of Effective Communication Listen 80 percent of time. Listen for: What do people care about? What is their vision for change, for an ideal future? Ask: Why are things the way they are? How would we change things for the better? Why don’t we take a stand?

13 13 Number 5: “Issues-Speak” is Your Best Language Cast all communication through the prism of issues, what the union cares about, what it stands for, what it is trying to achieve. De-emphasize (but don’t discount) organizational attributes and benefits and services of membership. Remember: The union is about what we are doing together to build a better future vs. what any one of us “gets” in the here and now.

14 14 Number 6: Tell Your Story: Speak to Hearts, Not Just Minds Why are you committed to and involved in the union? What have you experienced that make you a true believer? What inspires you to do this work? Why is your activism compatible with your personal values, commitment to kids, etc.?. The answers to these and similar questions make for one compelling “rap.”

15 15 Number 7: Don’t Ask People to Join or Get Involved: Challenge Them to “Take A Stand” Joining and getting involved in the union is about standing up for we need for ourselves and to do our jobs to the best of our abilities. Presenting membership and involvement in this way requires us to explain “for what?”

16 16 Number 8: Don’t Directly Answer “Why Should I Join the Union?” That’s because you are not in the best position to answer that question. But... You are extremely credible when it comes to explaining why you are a committed, active and involved union member. Remember: Tell your story!

17 17 Number 9: Make the Union First Friend, Best Friend to New Hires Where You Work The most important time you can spend is the time you spend reaching out to new hires, based on their needs. Sustained, personal contact over time is the key. Use your membership team to make this do-able. Make sure you say the words, “Your success is a priority of our union and your support is a commitment I make to you as a union leader.”

18 18 Number 10: Understand and Use “Join Quotient” to Your Advantage All of these suggestions take time and focus. Narrow efforts by learning who is hot, warm and cold when it comes to union membership and activism. This is learned through personal conversation and observable behaviors. Spend time with hots and warms. Stay out of the cold.

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