When workers in Fort Knox, Kentucky, decided to quadruple the membership of AFGE Local 2302, they knew it wouldn’t be a cakewalk.
But that didn’t stop the local from moving forward with the plan they developed at the June AFGE National Leadership Meeting. Instead, they saw it as a chance to educate people, especially the younger generation, on the benefits of union membership, our union rights, and why it’s important for us to band together.
With the help of District 6 and the national office, Local 2302 members formed an organizing committee, developed a plan, and put it into action in just a few short months.
The Power of Strategic Planning
Right away, the local signed up 62 members at the U.S. Army Human Resources Command (HRC), Garrison Command, Defense Commissary Agency, AAFES, and the U.S. Army Recruiting Command. They also garnered 87 new unit signatures from the Army Cadet Command employees interested in being represented by AFGE.
Members have also scheduled organizing events for the rest of the year and are on track to bring in another 200 members for a total 600 members. Their overall goal, though, is 1,500 members by 2017, which is about 50% of their eligible employees at the worksite.
"We are so proud of Local 2302," said AFGE Membership & Organizing (M&O) Director Bill Lyons. "With that level of commitment, we are confident the local will meet its immediate goal and become one of the strongest locals in AFGE."
“Our motto throughout all of these efforts has been ‘Together WE will WIN,' ” said Local 2302 Executive Vice President Rocky Gannon. “We are committed and will organize until we become Big Enough to Win!”
Inspired? Here are some Big Enough to Win tips from Local 2302 President Harry Rogers, Executive Vice President Rocky Gannon, and AFGE's Membership & Organizing Department:
- First, identify four things: your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Brainstorm ways to maximize your strength and opportunity and minimize your weakness and threat.
- Advertise your organizing events through flyers and other methods permitted. We also greet the employees on the sidewalks as they report to duty and invite them to an event.
- For planning purposes, make sure to have an organizing schedule for the events with details on date, type of event, location, and staff.
- Ask members to help with the organizing events. This is a good way to get members involved.
- Collaborate with other locals to host a joint event.
- Work closely with your district and national staff. They have the knowledge and resources to help you succeed.
- Ask for help if you need it. To help carry out the plan, we sought help from DEFCON and the AFGE Firefighter Steering Committee in addition to the District 6 team.
- Debrief every few months to go over lessons learned and adjust the plan if necessary.
- Publicize your local’s and national office’s accomplishments, including new benefits and cases successfully arbitrated.
LP Rogers and EVP Gannon asked to give a shout-out to District 6 National Vice President Arnold Scott, National Representative Dale Cox, National Organizers Jeremy Lannan and Hope Berndt, and M&O for all their help and support.