Tips for Recruiting the Next Generation of Union Workers
To say unions have undergone lots of change in their existence is an understatement.
Perhaps no other event has been as influential on the modern workforce as the pandemic. Now more than ever, unions are getting a resurgence in public attention due to pandemic-related work grievances, such as safety issues and burnout. While unions have provided aid to thousands of frontline workers, there’s still the issue of recruitment that has stagnated their efficiency.
As a union manager, it’s your job to satisfy your members with favorable bargaining outcomes. However, it’s difficult to achieve this without a full community of devoted members communicating which causes they want to be addressed. Thus, recruitment is very important to the overall success of your union. You need to stand out and reach new prospects.
If you don’t know where to look for members, don’t worry. We’ve got your back. Here’s what we’ll be covering:
Let’s explore how you can entice new workers to join your union and help you fight for the causes you care about.
What’s the current state of unions?
To better serve your union members, it’s important to understand their motivations and traits. Let’s explore the modern union landscape through the lenses of who and what using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 Union Members Report.
Who are in modern unions?
- In 2021, 15.8 million workers were represented by unions. This is roughly 10% of the total workforce.
- The population with the highest union memberships were workers between the ages of 45-54.
- The majority of union members are male, comprising 55% of the membership base.
- Black workers have a higher union membership rate (11.5%) than White, Asian, and Hispanic workers.
What industries have the highest union membership?
The public sector unionization rate is over 5 times higher than the rate of private-sector (34% versus 6%). In particular, these industries are the most unionized:
- Education, such as teachers, advisors, librarians, and guidance counselors (34%)
- Protective service occupations (33.3%)
- Transportation utilities (19.7%)
- Motion pictures and sound recording industries (17.3%)
- Construction (17.1%)
- Transportation (15.4%)
Now that you have an idea of what today’s union landscape looks like, let’s explore why recruitment is so important.
Why is union membership decreasing?
Despite unions having the highest public approval rating since 1965, union membership has significantly decreased over time. In fact, it has dropped from 20% of workers holding a union membership in the 1960s to just 10% in 2021.
There isn’t one single cause for this phenomenon. Policy experts suggest these are some of the reasons for the decline in union membership:
- Right-to-work laws. This legislation has become increasingly popular, meaning that more workers have the choice to opt-out of union membership.
- Company crackdown. Some major companies have taken an anti-union stance, making it harder for workers to organize.
- Global competition and deregulation. Unions in industries such as trucking have faced challenges due to international providers offering prices that are too low to support union premiums.
Besides these external factors, there are many internal components that have led to the union exodus. Some of the top reasons for union failure include disorganized leadership, slow collective bargaining, and a lack of communication between management and members. It’s up to management to solve these problems and retain as many union members as possible.
To combat the steady decline in union membership, it’s imperative to employ new recruitment tactics and optimize your management strategy. Here are some tips you can use to create a healthy union environment that workers will want to join.
1. Try union management software.
The best way to optimize your management operations is to use union management software like UnionWare. Union management software can help you solve all internal issues that impact union membership.
UnionWare is a digital space for you to communicate with your members and centralize all of your union’s information. Its modules have many uses, such as managing cases, coordinating events, managing contracts, dispatching employees, processing dues, storing member data, and much more. It provides all the tools you need to help you focus on organizing your members and making change.
Additionally, UnionWare is accessible to any of your members with a mobile device. This allows them to pay dues, contact management, and learn about upcoming events. Your members will likely appreciate the app’s convenience and flexibility.
Ultimately, having digital tools will facilitate the communication process and allow the union to run more efficiently, eliminating internal conflicts that threaten your union’s operations.
2. Use social media.
Other than internal operations, you should embrace the connectivity of the internet to recruit new members. You can tap into new communities of prospective members that might not yet know about the benefits of your union. Plus, the internet allows you to easily filter down your prospects to those who are geared towards your focus and industry. Here are some of the best ways to reach potential members online:
- Attend conferences and webinars.
- Leverage LinkedIn and Facebook for one-on-one conversations.
- Share your union’s educational resources on your profiles.
One of the advantages of leveraging social media is that you’re likely to access a younger population of workers. Workers between the ages of 16 and 24 are the least likely to be part of a union, so this is a great opportunity to contact them and capture their membership.
3. Leverage your website.
Your social media profiles aren’t the only parts of your online presence that you can leverage. Your website is the digital hub for all things your union, so you should make it as informative and engaging as possible. A great way to do this is by keeping your website updated with current events, educational resources, and relevant developments for your union. Though you can put practically anything on your website, here are some of the most effective ways to present this information:
- Blog about current events to become a thought leader in the space.
- Include testimonials and use storytelling on your website to showcase what your union is capable of.
- Create sharable infographics that easily break down your union’s achievements.
- Discuss union benefits (such as better pay and loan repayment programs) in your educational resources.
When recruiting new members, first impressions are everything. In the modern world, the best way to learn about an organization is by checking its website. It’s imperative that you include everything a prospective member would need to know about your union. That way, they’ll trust you as an authority in the space and will be more likely to trust your skills and bargaining power.
Once you’ve recruited more members, you can engage them by communicating frequently, listening to their grievances, and taking action to protect their rights. All of this is made simple with the help of UnionWare. There are a few convenient ways you can learn more about the software:
In the digital age, the best way you can provide value to your recruited members is by using powerful software. Set yourself apart with a software solution that knows how to optimize the member and management experience, no matter the industry or focus.
- How to Manage and Retain Union Membership. Now that you know how to recruit members, are you wondering how to retain them over time? Learn more in this guide.
- UnionWare’s Union Management Software. To explore UnionWare’s different features and modules, read this.
- Managing Your Nursing Union with Software: A Crash Course. Learn more about how to effectively manage your nursing union in this guide.