More than 50 UE members from more than 15 locals participated in a four-part online workshop in September called “Building Union Power.” Members met one evening per week to develop their internal-organizing skills and strategize to put those ideas into practice.
“We want to give local leaders the skills to strengthen their local unions by encouraging members to mobilize around workplace issues to win what we need as workers,” said Director of Organization Mark Meinster. He co-facilitated the workshop series with Staff Coordinator Kim Lawson and Director of Education Kari Thompson. “That doesn’t just happen — it takes planning.”
The workshops covered a wide range of essential union skills, including how to have conversations that engage members in union action and using lists to identify leaders or areas with problems. Additional workshops discussed how to gradually ratchet up tactics to pressure the boss and how to put all these pieces together into a plan. Locals were encouraged to send more than one participant so that multiple leaders could think about how to apply the concepts to their specific local in a collaborative manner. By spreading the workshops out over four weeks, participants were able to build on their skills each session.
Throughout the series, members learned from each other by hearing how different principles work in practice at different locals. This included everything from examples of creative tactics to strategies for welcoming new members.
UE plans to run a similar series in early 2023. Members that missed out on the first round will have another chance to build union power.