Finding New Ways to Win

On November 21, the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) released the results of the annual union recertification elections and told us, essentially, that education employees in WEAC Region 6 really like their union.

All of the Region 6 locals that participated in recertification won. More than 75 percent of the teachers and staff in those locals voted, and more than 95 percent voted for the union.

The thing is, the union membership percentage in most of those locals is lower than 75 or 95 percent. That means that throughout our region lots of people who have not joined the union voted in favor of keeping it. They like what the union does even though they aren’t members.

When I talk to union members about recruiting new members they are often reluctant, and sometimes it is because they feel that our non-member colleagues won’t join because they don’t like the union and don’t support what we do. November 21’s recertification results show that this is not the case. Lots of potential members are voting in the recertification elections, and almost all of them are voting Yes.

Non-member colleagues of mine in the school district of Beloit give many reasons for not joining, and the cost of the dues is probably the most common one. I believe these answers are honest, but the fact is that I joined and a majority of the teachers in Beloit have joined because we know the dues are worth it. And if we know this we owe it to ourselves and each other—and our potential-member colleagues—to invite potential members to join the union and tell them why they should.

We can start by telling our non-member colleagues that we think the union would be even better if they were in it. Then we can hand them membership forms and help them fill them out.

If you want to be part of the membership recruitment effort in your local, contact your building representative, a member of your local’s executive committee, or the Region 6 office today. Please do not hesitate to email me at kirahzeilinger@gmail.com, or call the Region 6 office at 1-800-397-2287. Let’s celebrate the recertification election victories by increasing our membership and giving our colleagues even more reasons to vote Yes next year.

In Solidarity,
Kirah Zeilinger
President of WEAC Region 6