One of the most difficult steps of joining a union can be how to bring up the subject to other coworkers. You may be afraid they will go to your boss and say something, or will think of you differently after you bring it up.
The truth is, if you have been concerned about your workplace and strongly think a union would improve things, chances are other people feel the same way.
Here are 4 tips on how to have the union conversation.
1. Start With Your Coworkers
When you are beginning to approach your fellow workers about the possibility of joining a union, it is best to start with those that you feel closest too. Talking to people you trust at work will allow you gauge how the staff is feeling and will also give you an honest answer.
2. Don’t Assume
Always keep in mind that every situation is different and that other coworkers will have different concerns than you do. The best way to keep an open conversation is to ask a lot of questions. Do they feel safe in the workplace? What do they think could be done to make conditions better? Do they feel respected there?
3. Have a Conversation
One of the worst things you can do when approaching other coworkers is to come at them with a sales-pitch for joining a union. This doesn’t always seem genuine and won’t allow for a more open conversation where you find out more about the issues each worker is dealing with at work.
4. Keep it Confidential
Throughout this process and during the early stages of organizing it is very important to keep things confidential. Not only do you put yourself at risk of having management find out you were thinking of organizing, but also other coworkers your may have been talking to. Suggest meeting an employee for coffee, or find other meeting places outside of work where you can discuss organizing.
Throughout the process of organizing and talking to fellow co-workers about unionizing, it is important to know that you can always reach out to an organizing department at your union. At Teamsters 362 our organizing department has helped thousands of new members go through the process of unionizing. Staying informed is one of the most important things you can do while taking to your coworkers, and an organizing department is there to help you.