Here’s What Communication Consultants Are Telling Union Organizers Not To Discuss With Workers

  • March 7, 2017

Here’s What Communication Consultants Are Telling Union Organizers Not To Discuss With Workers

Gratuitous Beagle Photo: She’s Not Listening Either.

Yesterday I wrote about how labor unions are learning to message issues to your employees.  Just the opposite is true.  While unions are struggling with traditional organizing and concerned about what their future may be under a Trump administration, they are still hard at work trying to reach out to your employees.  Some unions are using consulting firms in an effort to refine their messaging for today’s worker.

Yesterday we covered some of the ways they are using positive messaging. Today we are sharing some of the things consultants are telling organizers that they should not be saying.  All these examples are taken directly from a working document that can be found on the web.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Messaging

When talking to a prospective member, the consultants suggest the organizers:

• Don’t assume that the best message for one group will work with another: Tailor your messages, and understand that you must address concerns and issues differently.
• Don’t make it about politics – make it about issues: People hate politics and politicians, but they want us to fight for the issues they care about. Focus on issues that matter to “hard-working families.”
• Do not make blanket statements about employers – focus on the “irresponsible ones:” You are not anti-employer, we want to change employers for the better. Highlight and focus on the “irresponsible employers.”
• Don’t be vague: In many cases, people aren’t sure what protections they will get when they join a union. Give them clear details and they’ll be more informed and likely to join.
• Don’t Assume, Seed the Ground: You lose if you assume workers don’t have serious questions or concerns. Seed the ground first by selling your positives  and your image well before any specific campaign. In other words, think of a pre-campaign that proves value and the good we do everyday.

Words to Avoid:  Dues, Fee, Strike, Collective bargaining  

This advice makes it very clear why it is so important that employers talk to their employees about the realities of unions and collective bargaining.  Apparently unions don’t want them to know about the things they are trying to sell.