As I write this, there are membership recruitment drives underway in all of Region 6’s locals. Our local union leaders are making sure everybody who is eligible to sign up is encouraged to join and talk about the union.
When we meet with potential members we tell them how the union is making a difference and what it can do for them, their classrooms and their careers. Mostly we listen to them and ask what they need. Sometimes the conversation turns to how our organization is spearheading efforts to provide student debt relief solutions to Region 6 members. We discuss how the union is helping with Professional Development Plans, National Board Certification, and Educator Effectiveness. We might talk about how our union helps to elect pro-education school boards and pass referendum initiatives, bargain wage agreements and represent members who need help navigating their schools’ evaluation, review and disciplinary processes. Then we might remind them that unions are the only organizations that do these things, and the only organizations that help education employees raise their voices on behalf of their professions and their students.
Most importantly, we tell everyone that their union succeeds because of the active support of members like them. We are not just asking everyone to just join and pay their dues. We are trying to build our power by getting everyone more involved in the union. The union is its strongest and students are best served when the union and the community join forces to create change.
Talking about membership is everyone’s business. You owe it to yourself as a union member to talk about your union membership to other prospective members. Their membership makes your membership that much more valuable. Your reasons for continuing your membership will be their reasons for starting theirs.
You can become more deeply involved in your local’s membership recruitment efforts by getting in touch with your local’s elected leaders and telling them, “I’m In!” With money raised from successful grant proposals, Region 6 is able to offer incentives to members who actively recruit new members as part of our I’m In! project. Research and experience show that potential union members are much more likely to join if they are approached face-to-face by someone they work with. From now until September 30, any Region 6 member who signs up a new Region 6 member through face-to-face recruitment will receive $50 for every new recruit. More information about the I’m In! Membership Recruitment Incentive project and a copy of the form to submit to collect your reward are available online.
There are lots of materials and other resources available to help you in your recruiting efforts. WEAC President Ron Martin, an 8th grade social studies teacher from Eau Claire, writes about how his profession and his union inspire him in a recent column. For further inspiration, read the column legendary Capital Times editor Dave Zweifel wrote about Region 6 last year. You can also refer potential members to the “For the Record” show that three Region 6 members starred in on WISC-TV during back-to-school time last year. The articles and the show validate the work we are doing and provide more background information.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and call the Region 6 office at 1-800-397-2287 if you have questions or want more information. Let us inspire you to inspire others.
President of WEAC Region 6