Region 5 Spring Conference 2012 Presented By: Field Mobilization Specialist Michael Ottaviano
Whether an experienced Local /Unit Officer or newer to CSEA, everyone understands how hard it can be to get members motivated and involved. Structure of the Local/Unit is the first part to achieving involvement. Before you can bring members into being involved, setting up organized operations is job one.
Developing an effective steward network and working committees Training members, developing future activists & general membership education Designing newsletter, website, general internal communications plan Helping develop Labor/Management Agenda Educating agency fee payers to become members
General membership meetings Communications plan Message development Getting other members involved and keeping them informed and involved Planning and carrying out a variety of tactics that give everyone an opportunity to participate Community outreach
To hear members issues and concerns To keep members informed of union victories To distribute meeting notices, leaflets, proposal surveys, etc. To increase membership by signing up agency fee payers To strengthen our position in labor management meetings To strengthen our position at the bargaining table To negotiate better contracts To maintain a visible presence in the workplace
Keep records with the following information Name Current Home Address Home Telephone Number Work Telephone Number with ext. Cell Phone Number E-mail Address Keep a list of assignments with each person’s skills and “strong suits” Call meetings regularly Distribute copies of meeting minutes and decisions Review accomplishments Plan future events
Job Title Work hours/Shift Department/Floor Years of Service/Experience Gender Language
Should get along well with most people Is a good listener Builds trust easily Speaks well Helps people believe in themselves Doesn’t get discouraged too often Is open to new ideas Is flexible Is honest Has the respect of his/her co-workers Has the ability to mobilize members
A union activist is an extraordinary person.They give up their free time and at the end ofthe day they get little more than cold pizza anda slap on the back.It is important to keep in mind the reasonspeople get involved in order to successfullyrecruit and retain them.
Idealism – Many members participate out of their loyalty to the union and their co-workers.Socializing – Some members work on campaigns to meet other people who share the same interests.Opportunity – Many members participate to win better working conditions, more benefits, more money, or a better job.Recognition – Still other members become involved to win praise from the union leadership and the admiration of co-workers.
Family obligations Another job A previous volunteer commitment
They weren’t actually invited to participate They weren’t invited to participate by the right person(s) They might be embarrassed by their perceived lack of experience or knowledge Participation in the union is a foreign concept Being active in anything is a foreign concept
They don’t feel like their opinion counts They don’t agree with the plan or activity/not part of the planning They don’t understand the plan or the activity They are not comfortable with the tactics or cannot participate in the way that was asked of them
GAIN CREDIBILITY Be honest with members, co-workers and managers. If you bluff, mislead or skirt the truth, you won’t remain credible for long. BE RELIABLE If you are asked a question and you don’t know the answer, say “I don’t know”, then get the information and get back to the person as soon as possible, follow through. KNOW THE CONTRACT Know what issues are impacting the workers. Ask if there are solutions.
BE SUPPORTIVE If activists approach you with concerns and complaints, offer understanding, encouragement and guidance in addressing the issues. LISTEN Pay attention to what is being said, show interest in the problem, and maintain eye contact. Don’t fake attention or allow yourself to be distracted. Don’t interrupt. It’s impossible to listen when you are also talking. Ask questions if you are unclear or confused or don’t understand what is being said.
Ask them in person Ask them to do a job that has a definite beginning and ending Give them a range of tasks from which to choose Ask them to do something they feel they do well Tell each person how his or her task fits in with the rest of the project Keep them accountable
Mentoring is usually conducted between two individuals in a 1 on 1 situation. Ex. Union leader to member activist Group Mentoring works the same, with one mentor and several mentees Ex. Union leader to several member activists Mentoring is a two-way street : experienced leaders can teach newer activists and vice versa; Both can benefit
Formal – the relationship is set by the union, people are paired together and all parameters are handled by union leadership and educators Informal – people begin the relationship on their own and set parameters such as when to meet, tasks and goals Most common in union situations is informal mentoring
Peer Mentoring – either formal or informal and relationship is conducted between people at same or near-same levels Provides comfort level for member activists – experienced with experienced, new with newer Allows members to easily discuss their needs and areas to improve
Leadership should: Be open to learning and make time for commitment Make themself available – open door policy Share information, knowledge and insight Identify internal political issues Create trust with proper feedback Keep activist focused and on task Receive feedback respectfully Support and encourage activist to new tasks and goals
Member Activists should: Be open to learning and make time for commitment Communicate their goals Provide and receive feedback respectfully Take on new and different tasks Think outside your “zone” Evaluate personal success and expect set-backs
Leadership Advantages Learn to receive and give feedback Develop new and enhance communication skills Reflect and address their “keys to success” Delegate union task workload Learn different ideas from newer activists Aide in the development of tomorrows’ leaders
Member Activists Advantages Develop new skills Gain Knowledge of union history Increase personal value and commitment to union Learn and overcome barriers Avoid internal political issues Advance in Union leadership Personal professional growth
Union Advantages Improved communication Build team within union Increase union commitment and stability Create knowledge network Reduce activist “drop–outs” Develop new activists who can become tomorrows’ leaders
Once you start a program of success, you need to keep it working Constantly keep your eye out for younger workers who “know other people, have a positive reputation and show leadership qualities Teach your activists to do the same Make mentoring activists a structural part of your local/unit
Inclusion – A sense of being part of what is going on, of being included in the group, of not being an outsider Control – Ability to control the pace of work, to have some influence in decision making, at least over their own task Appreciation – Some recognition for their efforts and activities
Personal thank you notes Public recognition at meetings Mention and photo in newsletter Framed certificates of appreciation Engraved plaques Opportunity to attend training programs or conferences
Gets easier over time, especially if you find ways to keep people involved between contract battles or major crises Gets easier with each successful action or campaign because members start to feel powerful and want to continue Consistently done over time, will change the mind-set of the membership and culture of the local or unit
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