Today’s Unions are in a limbo. They appear to be more interested in protecting their assets than protecting their members who are the unions assets, who are the union.
IMO we/unions need to reinstate our position within the communities we serve. Yes I repeat the communities we serve. When the miners lost so did the mining communities, the shops and the commerce that previously supplied those communities went with them. Like a line of domino’s as one fell they knocked the rest over.
When I fail to get my members a rise that keeps their heads above water it is their children that go without, their homes that don’t get heated. Families are directly affected by the unions success or failure. Family support for activists is essential to get us through the bad times because as any activist will tell you it is not a bed of roses, beer and skittles. But what do I see; partners with no say in the union. Kids excluded from branch meetings. Union life kept separate from family life when as I describe above it is not.
My branch went to local businesses and explained we have members and if they gave us a discount our members would support their businesses unfortunately with the branches in the mess they are in too few members took advantage but we found none that turned us away and demonstrated how reliant those businesses are on union success.
In short we need to get back to our roots so that our children don’t have to be convinced to join but ask who they need to talk to and become a member on day one of their working lives.
There is one successful union in today’s market, the CBI and it demonstrates my point clearly. The rich understand the value of a union and via their gentleman’s clubs, public schools and conservative party they do very well for their members.
So we swallow a bit of pride and go make a deal for our members with the utilities to get them cheaper gas and electric than they can get for themselves, in effect membership with a net gain. We make our family associate members and train them to go into the communities on our behalf to strike up those deals that support local businesses that in return would be more inclined to support us. We become again part of the community and not part of the establishment. We build ties and influence within the communities we are active in because you achieve more with an open hand than you do with a clenched fist.