While Right to Work legislation is one of the biggest obstacles UFCW Local Unions have ever faced, it also presents an opportunity to challenge ourselves to adapt and look for more ways to connect with current and potential members.
In 2007, the UFCW conducted a survey of the practices of UFCW Locals who are located in Right to Work states. By looking for commonalities among locals experiencing growth, we were able to take an honest look at our strengths and weaknesses and identify best practices to grow and improve our union.
Best practices include:
- Growing and maintaining membership density by using qualified and trained representatives to conduct orientation.
- Checking in with staff regularly and providing any needed support.
- Holding staff accountable for growing and maintaining membership density, and improving the process for membership signup and orientation.
- Developing and executing plans for low density units.
- Improving the membership signup application procedures by processing applications and following up with employers on all submitted applications in a timely way.
- Requiring employers in all industries represented to provide accurate information about new hires and terminations.
- Providing interpreters or other necessary staff to reflect the language needs of members.
- Using orientation programs to recruit members, track results, and provide new hires with critical information about their local union.
- Encouraging diverse applicants for staffing positions, including stewards and organizers. Encourage qualified members at the worksites to apply for open positions.
- Holding regular membership meetings; once workers become members and attend orientations, it’s critical to continue include them in the activities and decisions of the local.
By implementing these best practices, we can overcome anti-worker policies like Right to Work, expand our ability to support workers’ voices, and make our 1.3 million member union stronger and more effective than ever.