My history is as a union organizer. I have a specific set of organizing strategies that I am familiar with, that work in a certain broad set of contexts. But they don't work in all contexts!
I'm going to use this thread to share some of the strategies and analyses I have learned as a union organizer.
I would like to encourage other organizers to respond to this post to share what strategies they have learned.
Please boost this so we can reach as many organizers as possible!
A lot of times we talk about the necessity of "organizing" or "getting organized" but we don't often talk about what the concrete and practical actions of organizing are.
(I didn't get around to posting these strategies today! I'm going to try to do that tomorrow.)
@turtlebirb Speak with people where they are, not where you want them to be. Most eyes will glaze over when they hear cant. Listen more.
Don’t overlook unconventional alliances which the ideological hardliners will scoff at. Those can be incredibly productive at the soil level, especially when tacit. Tacit deals with churches and power grannies are struck in the kitchen, not some office.
Know when to pack it in and try a different tack. One only has so much energy.
Listen. Hold hands.
@turtlebirb @a_bun Normally I stay well away from politically charged topics but I was a health and safety officer for a trade union. Not a box-ticker: someone who actually gave a damn about people getting to go home every night rather than going to hospital.
I had the privilege of working with a long-standing steward. We'll call her Carol, because that's her name. Carol wore a bright red whistle around her neck, every single day. Everybody knew, without exception, that when Carol blew that whistle, people all over the building wouldn't ask questions - they would down tools and walk out.
She never blew her whistle. Not even once.
Sometimes, using the same bargaining tactic again and again dilutes its effectiveness. The most powerful tactics tend to be those you have never ever used.
@Calkesh that's a fantastic story. Sounds like you already had a strong shop. Do you have any insights into how it got that strong?
And conversely, some tactics are like a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly to stay strong.
re: collective bargaining
@turtlebirb As I understand it, what happened (long before I arrived) was the shop was bought out by a multinational company who fired the old management (who were always fair and well-liked by the rank and file), and brought in their own people (who were, to put it politely, not). People stopped enjoying their work. Productivity declined. The multinational decided it was the workers' fault - they became afraid for their jobs and saw no alternative but to unionise. That mentality was still strong when I arrived.
This is a small instance for friends and comrades.