Organizing New Members

When prospective members check your website what will they find? Is there compelling information that would make them want to join your union?  Is there an easy way for them to contact your organizing department? Organizing leads can come from anywhere. Providing prospective members with a recruitment page will help bring in additional leads to your union.

Title the Page Appropriately

This is not the time to be vague. Titling your page “Join Our Union” removes all doubt about its purpose. Being clear will help significantly with organizing new members.

Write About What Joining Your Union Will Mean for Them

A large part of organizing new members is talking about what union representation will mean for them.

“If you want fairness and respect at work, join…”

“By joining together, working women and men gain strength in numbers so they can have a voice at work about what they care about. They negotiate a contract with their employer for things like a fair and safe workplace, better wages, a secure retirement and family-friendly policies such as paid sick leave and scheduling hours.”

Provide Testimonials From Members

Testimonials from current members provide prospective members with personal accounts of what union membership has to offer. Utilize photos, names and titles to reinforce the professions your members organize.

“Joining our union is the best decision we ever made. Having a union contract protects us at work.”

“I’ve worked in places where there is no union. Being a member of our union protects us from being terminated just because an administrator doesn’t like us.”

Provide Means for Contacting Your Union

Providing a simple email form and a phone number will give prospective members multiple ways to contact your organizing department. Prospective members may be reluctant to speak about joining out of concern for their job and safety. Remind them that their contact information will remain confidential.

Share the Wealth

If the prospective member isn’t a good fit with your union for some reason, ask them if you can share their contact information with another union that may be a better fit. These people have reached out because they want a voice at the workplace. Just because your union doesn’t represent their profession doesn’t mean they don’t deserve representation. Help put them in touch with a union that will represent them.

Side of Applesauce

In 2010, 300 workers and members of UFCW Local 220 were forced on strike at the Mott’s plant in Williamson, NY. The company slashed wages by $1.50 an hour for each employee and was trying to take away the workers’ pension plan. Dr. Pepper Snapple’s stock was skyrocketing and outperforming others in the industry.

UFCW looked for how they could use social media to support actions on the ground and shed light on a company’s actions.

UFCW’s New Media Strategy:

On Facebook
UFCW asked people to target the Mott’s Facebook page:MottsFacebookMottsBadge


UFCW encouraged supporters to print out and tape strips of paper to Mott’s products on the shelves.



On Twitter
UFCW asked people to use the hashtag #justiceatmotts

UFCW created flyers for leafleting actions at stores.

UFCW created a hub for downloading materials and documenting actions.


Making actions visible to the public
UFCW documented Mott’s defensive actions on their blog and used them as examples of success including photos and video of actions.

UFCW added facts about the strike to the Mott’s Wikipedia page.

End Results

The Mott’s Strike – a social media campaign case study

Much of this activity will include some elements of social media.   The recent Mott’s strike included a highly successful  social media campaign aimed at Doctor Pepper Snapple that was inexpensive to create, achieved a level of viral spread, and has been credited with helping to bring the strike to an end due.

The campaign was so successful, despite being enjoined in court following a filing by DPS for trademark infringement, that the campaign will be featured as part of a panel on social media at the upcoming International Labor Communications Association’s (ILCA’s) annual conference, to be held in Washington D.C, on November 19, 2010.  This conference is a gathering of labor press from around the country, featuring an opportunity to share best practices, and learn about new ways to deliver the message of organized labor.
                                                          – Michael VanDervort , HR consultant