Nothing is more important than winning new members and getting our members involved. It is a vital part of being a democratic and campaigning organisation.
UNISON is only as strong as its membership: so getting members active within the union should be a priority.
It’s not just about ‘signing up’ members, but making sure the members we sign up take an active part in their union – organising as well as recruiting.
Remember: recruiting a member is not the first and last face-to-face encounter, but the beginning of a developing relationship.
Case study: Young members take to the streets
More than 100 young members took to the streets of Leeds to campaign about the way young people are being hit by the government’s austerity measures.
Using a mix of surveys, petitions, and leaflets they spoke to hundreds of people, got more than 400 signatures, and recruited two new UNISON members – all in the space of just one hour.
Joel Bodmer, chair of the young members forum said: “It was fantastic to see the energy, enthusiasm, and ideas coming through. Our young team really is getting organised.”
As strong as our members
Organised workplaces with a high density of union membership mean that UNISON has much greater influence with local management and with employers.
Organised workplaces give members a stronger sense of confidence and ability to change things, together with much higher chances of winning recognition in non-recognised workplaces.
“Nobody asked me!” is the single biggest reason people give for not having joined a trade union.
Case sudy: Birmingham Connexions
Birmingham members saw off the threat of redundancy to more than 100 Connexions staff in the city.
After a long and hard-fought campaign, the branch was told that the threat of redundancy had been withdrawn.
Some 105 out of 172 full-time equivalent posts had been under threat, but the council decided to look at making savings through alternative means.
Graeme Horn, joint UNISON branch secretary at Birmingham council, said: “This is a victory for those who have been prepared to take industrial action, to take round petitions, to hand out leaflets to the public, to lobby councillors, to march on the Council House, to speak at meetings throughout the city, to give endless interviews to the media and, above all, to never give up.”
UNISON is only as strong as its membership – so getting members active within the union should be a priority
Many branch activists are experienced in running campaigns on both local and national issues, but it’s always useful to review our approach, so here are a few basic tips.
There’s nothing worse than taking the time to organise an event, only to find that hardly anyone turns up. So here are a few things to consider that should help your event – from a union meeting to a recruitment stall, from a lobby to a social event.
Taking industrial action is a big step for any union. And with a raft of legislation surrounding any form of industrial action, from ballots to picketing, great care is essential when taking action. But there are a couple of general principles to bear in mind.