AFGE ended June with another overall net increase of 1,362 members!
Our organizing success is driven by AFGE local unions and members like you. It’s about workers connecting with other workers and banding together for a voice on the job.
In this week’s Insider, we profile one local that’s signing up new members like gangbusters. Read on to learn more!
This Local Signed Up 90% of People Attending New Employee Orientation. How Did They Do It?
AFGE Local 727,representing employees at the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA) in Washington, D.C., used to sign up only a few people at a New Employee Orientation. The meeting iswhere the agency provides basic information to new hires, and, as part of the presentation, the union is invited to talk to employees about the benefits of joining the union.
At CSOSA, new hires usually waited until they finished a one-year probationary period to join the union.
But at the last NEO in June, the local was able to sign up 19 people out of 21 who were eligible right away. What changed?
“I think it’s because we gave a personal touch,” said Local President Charron Carter.
By that she means they focused more on the immediate benefits of being part of the union and what they could do together about the issues most important to workers.
Previously, they would spend more time focused on Weingarten rights, which guarantee an employee the right to union representation during an investigatory interview that could lead to disciplinary actions, and other non-pressing issues. Non-pressing issues are important, but they were not motivating employees to join the union.
At the June NEO, the local talked to the new hires about how their software training would be improved due to the concerns raised by the union.
Employees previously had only one day to learn the agency’s complicated operating system that they would use in every aspect of their case management. For most people, it was like a scavenger hunt trying to navigate the system. The local brought this concern to management, who agreed that it was an issue and agreed toprovide more assistance to help employees do their jobs easier.
This issue resonated with the new hires because itimmediately affected their ability to pass their probationary period. When they heard about how their union siblings were already fighting for them, they signed up.
Local 727’s bargaining unit is about 400, in which nearly 300 are members. The local could have had even more members if the agency hadn’t lost workers after it had cut down on telework and brought the employees back to the office to accomplish tasks they could do at home.
“We have lost a lot of people. They have gone on to other jobs or retired,” Carter said. “There’s a lot that you can do from home as you don’t see offenders all the time.”
But Carter is determined to build back the membership and keep the momentum going.
“Grow our membership, that is my goal,” she added, giving a shout outto her local Secretary Treasurer Tyra McClelland for her excellent job speaking at the last NEO.
Want to be part of AFGE’s historic organizing success?
If you’re looking to help kick start organizing at your local, we’ve got the tools to help you succeed. Visit AFGE’s Organizing Resourcespage to get started!