AFGE’s New Organizing Strategy: Collective Power NOW

Four years of an administration hostile to federal workers and labor unions have resulted in a hollowing out of not just federal agencies but of AFGE’s membership. Our union hit the highest membership ever in May 2018 when our ranks swelled to 318,222, but repeated attacks by the Trump White House and anti-worker political appointees at different fronts have resulted in our dues-paying membership dropping to roughly 290,000 today. Then there was COVID-19 that delayed our recruiting efforts in 2020. 

Check out the AFGE NOW Recruitment Power Pack, which includes everything you need to hold a virtual recruitment event, including materials to help your planning, outreach, presentation, scripts, and sign-up process.

With the vaccines and the repeal of Trump’s harmful executive orders by the worker-friendly Biden administration, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. But we need to act fast to empower our members to rebuild our union if we want to regain what we have lost and achieve even more. 

As the next four years will be crucial to our union and our workplace rights, AFGE has developed a new organizing initiative that focuses on our collective power and activism – where every member is empowered to fight back and fight for our rights. Throughout history, it’s evident that even one person can start and affect change. With collective power in our union, we can and will achieve so much more. NOW is the time! 

Here are two immediate actions we are taking simultaneously, and you as an AFGE member will play a crucial role and help decide the outcome: 

1. Immediately increase new member recruitment. 

We need to find a way to immediately beginning to add a larger number of new members each month until we reach a breakeven point were our “adds and drops” are equal utilizing the techniques that we have used for the last 30 years. This first goal is “1500 additional new members per month” by July 31 and each month thereafter. 

To breakeven and then grow AFGE’s membership requires increasing the number of new members voluntarily joining each month. When we break it down to districts and locals, the numbers are very achievable. 

2. Begin “Organizing to Build Power 

Success comes from “collective power” of committed and engaged unionists, who participate and engage in exercising their power through collective action. 

Going forward we will begin a process to build our power as well as our membership through a series of actions by: 

  • Learning how to talk about achieving results together- through group power
  • Learning how to hold 1 on 1 “organizing conversations” to identify issues of interest
  • Identifying a network of informal leaders throughout the bargaining unit
  • Asking those work area leaders to be the union’s organizing and mobilizing committee
  • Charting the workforce, their issues, and their engagement in a software to make the information useful in targeting potential members as well as calls to action
  • Engaging the members through the informal leaders to take actions on issues
  • Learning to ask for easy collective actions and build toward harder ones
  • Using local texts to members from the software to communicate as well as social media
  • Having the work area leader welcome any new workers in their area
  • Making sure the New Employee Orientation is covered and the discussion is framed in this manner
  • Introducing new online programs geared to educating leaders on these approaches
  • Introducing online training for staff organizers and other staff in these techniques
  • Introducing online orientation for members for an enhanced view into their union
  • Introducing an online union orientation for potential members
  • Developing an App with the member’s contract on it as well as links to other information of importance to the member
  • Developing other technological approaches through Facebook, geofencing and other digital platforms
  • Expanding training for developing community power and activism
  • Teaching “power concepts” to our members
  • and more. 

Prepare to take advantage of the coming light. NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT!


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