Organise to Win! Carl Roper: Director of the TUC Organising Academy
The good news! • Since 1997 union membership has grown by 20,000 a year • Thousands of new recognition agreements • 1.1 million potential new members • Increasing union membership and influence in the workplace and beyond thanks to range of factors
But…. • Membership ‘growth’ is slow • Union density marked by one overall trend…
Growth & Decline Missed opportunity?
Private Sector Double Whammy? Employment DECLINE where we’re strongest Employment INCREASE where we’re weakest
Central problem • There is plenty of good work on organising & recruitment being done by affiliates and the TUC but… We lost 6 million members in 18 years, and at our current rate of growth, it will take 240 years to get back to where we were in 1979
Move to Organising – Key Principles • Increased membership is not just about institutional survival – it’s about impact on working people • Growth needs to be sustainable • New approach to organising • Strategically planning campaigns • Developing and sustaining member activity • Organising around workplace issues that matter to members
New Unionism’s Challenges for Modern Unions • Strengthen our base • To extend our influence • More Reps and Reactivated Local Structures • Become more relevant to potential members. • Increase resources • Change culture of unions
An organising union Growth Key Objectives Engaged & Involved members Active, well supported reps
Active, well supported reps • Thinking about reps • Are there enough? • Who are they; are they ‘representative’? • Likely churn over next 2, 5, 10 years? • What time-off do they get? • What do they do? • What training do they get? • Do they feel valued? Are they? • Are they going to support the move toward organising?
Engaged and involved members • Involvement at branch/local level? • Who is involved? • Opportunities for involvement • What do members think of the union? • How do we know? • What do we ask members to do?
Some union strategies in the UK • TGWU – huge financial investment in organising, specialist organisers and national sector strategies • USDAW – developed their own Organising Academy, recruited 30,000 members • PCS – Increase in members, 5 fold increase in branch organisers, activist to member ration now 30:1 from 60:1
History of the Organising Academy • Established in 1998 • Over 200 Academy Organisers have been trained • Responsible for Organising over 35,000 new union members • Recruiting 1000’s of new activists • Establishing unions for first time in 100’s of new workplaces
Academy Organisers are more likely to be Women Aged 30 and under New to the movement Changing union staff profiles
Focused on ORGANISING • Spending MORE time on: • Direct recruitment • Encouraging & training existing activists to recruit • Planning campaigns • Building workplace structures • And LESS time on • Negotiating with employers • Representing individual members
Employers targeted 1260 (10.77 per AO) Direct recruits 19,596 (169) Indirect recruits 39,987 (348) Activists recruited 1800 (16) Greenfield sites 659 (5.63) established 84 (0.72) recognition Successful outcomes positive outputs in short-term Range of outcomes recruitment, organising, recognition Organising Outcomes(113-117 AOs in initial 12 months)
Organising Academy Programme Now expanded to include: • Union Officers and Staff • Advanced Organising • Work for individual unions
Summary • No one size fits all - different unions need to approach organising in different ways • Its not organising v servicing; how can we integrate? • Employing specialists organisers should be part of a wider strategy for growth • Not a substitute for encouraging members to become active • Investing in organising pays off • Driver for wider change