‘We’ll Be a Better Union if You Join’

Strength in Numbers Campaign Brings it Home

During our Strength in Numbers membership drive, members and staff have used different approaches to reach out to non-members, including phone calls and many worksite visits. This weekend, we added a new approach — home visits.

SEA/SEIU Local 1984 began its Strength in Numbers membership drive this fall with the goal of growing our membership in order to make our union stronger. We’re doing this by having conversations whenever and wherever we can. On Saturday, four two-man teams fanned out across Concord to talk with, and more importantly, listen to non-members. That a group of people were willing to give up a Saturday so close to the holidays shows just how important this work is, but according to those who took part, the effort was worth it.

“It was a nice day and it was a great experience,” said Second Vice President Tammy Clark. “I liked that we were greeting people at home, where they feel more in control, and talking with them about why they didn’t join the union.”

That part, listening to people, is important if you hope to ever change their minds. Just being there, face-to-face, is important, too.

“You can’t beat having those one-on-one, personal visits,” Clark said.

Another member who took part, John Hancock of DHHS, said he found himself giving personal examples to the people he was talking with on Saturday.

“I think people can relate better to personal stories, as when I was talking about my son’s illness,” Hancock said, pointing out how important quality health benefits are when someone you love falls ill. Health benefits, he noted, are just one of the things we advocate for. “The union is always there fighting for us. I want to join that fight and I want other people to join that fight.”

Hancock said he was initially hesitant about knocking on strangers’ doors, but that changed quickly.

“I think when you engage people in conversation, they respond really well,” he said. “I told one person, ‘we’ll be a better union if you join,’ and I think that’s true of all employees.”

It all comes back to those three defining words: Strength in Numbers. The more people we have moving together, acting as one, the more we can achieve.

“The more people we have as members, the stronger our position will be in bargaining, improving working conditions and so much more,” Hancock said.

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