A Step-by-Step Guide to Signing-Up New Members
Happy New Year! In 2015 the Organization Department will expand our training efforts by reaching out to locals and conducting regional training seminars on how to sign-up non-members.
“The union” isn’t a third party. It’s you. It’s me. It is all of us working together for a common cause. By working together we aim to achieve better working conditions, safe work places, a better standard of living for ourselves and our families, and dignity and respect on the job.
When people talk about what the union does or doesn’t do, remember, we are the union.
Back to Basics
One-on-one communication with prospective members is essential. If some of your co-workers have chosen to remain on the sidelines, work on building or rebuilding relationships with them. Try to find out what difficulties they face in the workplace, and remind them that only by working together can we hope to address their problems – and the concerns we all share.
Here are a few steps you can follow:
Introduction: After introducing yourself, ask general questions, such as, “How long have you worked for the Postal Service?”Or ask, “Have you always been in the (Clerk, MVS, or Maintenance) Craft?” Give them a chance to talk and get comfortable.
Listen: Your role as an organizer is to listen and hear their story. Ask open-ended questions. Make sure you’re paying attention. If you are not clear about what the person is saying, ask follow-up questions or restate what you think you understand. Remember, we are trying to get to know them. We are not looking to solve all their problems right then and there.
Get them thinking: Get prospective members thinking and talking about who makes the decisions at work. If they are unhappy with the scheduling – or lack thereof – and have refused to join the union as a result, ask them who really makes the decisions about scheduling. Help them realize the problems we face are the result of management’s policies. Ask them how they think this will change if they won’t join in a common effort with their co-workers to solve problems.
Vision: Give them hope and a vision of what we can achieve together. It’s human nature to find fault in something or someone. Ask them what they think would happen if we all stood up and said, “This can’t happen anymore,” or if everyone in the office went to management together and said, “This isn’t right,” or, “This isn’t working.”
Let them know that if they stand with their co-workers, together we can accomplish so much more. Ask them to join us today and make the commitment to stand together.
What Do You Control?
During our first three-day conference on organizing non-members, one of the topics we covered was control.
Attendees were asked to write down all the obstacles they face when they try to sign up new members and then determine which of three categories the obstacles fell into: roadblocks we have little control over, some control, or a lot of control.
At the conclusion of the exercise, we realized that we have control over many things when it comes to organizing. Rather than expend our energy focusing on things we have little control over, we should take the obstacles we have control over and make a difference.
By the Numbers
In the first 10 months of the year we signed up more than 11,000 new members!
Many locals put a lot of effort into organizing in 2014. To each and every one, thank you!
Union organizing can be some of the most rewarding work you do.