• At last evening’s meeting something was said about the levels of organizing, in the sense that your message to a new employee or union member won’t be the same as to someone who’s been around a while. When someone is a member your message is different than when they’re not: you’re trying to involve the member whereas you’re trying to sign up the nonmember. This got me thinking that in my experience organizing is like any other kind of personal or professional growth in that it doesn’t happen all at once. My mind connected this to my garden that is mostly not planted at the moment, and came up with the following.

    We could tailor our messages/organizing efforts to 4 stages:

    Stage 1 – Easy apples. Some folks join or get involved as soon as you ask them. The less organized the workforce is, the more likely it is that there are people who just haven’t been approached before. If you sign up the willing and then get each to do something, then like Bill said you will have succeeded because a being a successful organizer depends on what you can get OTHERS to do.

    Stage 2 – Plant seeds. Meet the people where they are, figuratively. Find out what is important to them and relate your message to those things. Give them something to think about.

    Stage 3 – Cultivate. Continue to interact with the people, be part of their work experience and address things that matter to them. I was taught that people don’t generally take something to heart or believe it till they’ve heard it about 5 times. We have all seen that if a lie is repeated often enough people believe it. The same thing holds true for facts. Work that “soil.”

    Stage 4 – Harvest. Each person’s relationship with the Union will develop at its own rate, and be “harvested” individually. By “harvest” I mean get that person to join, or get that person to get involved in something, whatever your goal was with that person. And once that happens you set your new goal, plant the seeds for it it and cultivate.

    Robin Johnson AFGE
  • I cannot say enough about ‘New Member Orientation’. If your contract requires the employer to give the Union time to get in front of employees, DO IT (if it doesn’t, try to get that language into your next contract”). Then, use this time to not only to ‘get them to join’ but also to explain what unions are, what unions do, and why it’s important for them to join.

    Kelly Dickey

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