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Strategic Research and Strategic Campaigning. Eli Kasargod-Staub Research Director ACTU. Goals of Presentation. Overview - goals of strategic campaigning Overview - role of research in strategic campaigning

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Strategic Research and Strategic Campaigning

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Strategic research and strategic campaigning

Strategic Research and Strategic Campaigning

Eli Kasargod-Staub

Research Director


Goals of presentation

Goals of Presentation

  • Overview - goals of strategic campaigning

  • Overview - role of research in strategic campaigning

  • Tell the amazing story of how 8,000 aged care workers in Chicago won power, a decent contract, and rebuilt their union – thanks (in significant part) to strategic research

Animating questions

Animating Questions

  • How can we raise standards for workers across entire companies/industries at once?

    • Answer: grow power for workers through unions!

  • How can we grow power for workers?

    • Answer: Organizing! Not just recruitment, but growing worker power through engagement in building the union and winning campaigns.

  • How can we amplify and direct worker power to win union recognition and better standards across the board?

    • Answer: Strategic Campaigning!

The way of strategic campaigning

The Way of Strategic Campaigning

  • Understand how you could organize/bargain “on scale” in an industry

  • Identify the key people whose decisions affect the fate of workers “on scale,” and understand what they care about

  • Utilize all available forms of power to impact those decision makers

  • “Clear Choice”

Goals of strategic research

Goals of Strategic Research

2. Figure out what those key decision makers care about & how to impact those concerns

1. Figure out which key decision makers control the fate of organizing/bargaining

Goals of strategic research1

Goals of Strategic Research

  • Understand the business fundamentals and strategies like an insider

  • Understand the dynamics of power within a company (or an entire industry) to identify strategies for organizing/bargaining “on scale”

  • Identify opportunities to impact that company/industry – carrots and sticks

  • Produce credible materials about issues for non-worker audiences (financial, regulatory, etc.)

How do we look at companies

How Do We Look at Companies?

A company s web

A Company’s “Web”

Chicago nursing homes background

Chicago Nursing Homes: Background

  • ~150 nursing homes in Chicago area, 8,000 + workers

  • Many different owners, no big chains

  • Union present in 115 homes, 100% density, with one contract for all facilities

  • Union and contract very weak

Chicago nursing homes analysis

Chicago Nursing Homes: Analysis

  • Facilities totally dependent on state money

  • Facilities would not be able to deliver improvements for workers without increased funding

  • Led to joint union/industry lobbying for increased funding

Chicago nursing homes accountability campaign

Chicago Nursing Homes: Accountability Campaign

  • Owners still claiming poverty for new contract

  • Research uncovers hidden profits & terrible care

  • Accountability campaign:

    • Bargaining

    • Field

    • Media

    • Legislation

  • Strike vote

Chicago nursing homes victory

Chicago Nursing Homes: Victory!

  • Reinvigorated union at both the shop and local (branch) levels

  • Stronger contract

  • Strong organizing rights enshrined in contract

  • Industry educated about union/worker power

Key lessons from chicago

Key Lessons from Chicago

  • Do your homework about the industry - what does power really look like in the industry?

  • Recruitment does not automatically equal power -- we must build robust workplace organizations

    • Workers must understand the campaign and how they fit in

    • Innoculate workers against blowback from the boss

  • Credibility in tactics comes from worker engagement

  • Listen to workers’ issues and turn problems into tactics:

    • Who would care about the problems I’m finding?

    • Why would they care?

    • What can they do about it?

Strategic research @ actu

Strategic Research @ ACTU

  • Engaged in long-term, multi-union work

  • Focus is on ways to transform power in industries

    • Telstra campaign

    • Green Jobs

Questions for discussion

Questions for Discussion

  • Who has power in your industry?

  • What do the bosses you deal with care about most right now?

  • Who are some other stakeholders in the company/industry you deal with? How are they treated?

  • How can you amplify worker power through your union’s relationships?

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