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Online Organizing and Social Media

Is Your Organization Social?
• Do you know what social media
is?
• Do you Facebook?
• Does your company Facebook?
• Does your company employ
Facebook (or other social
media) for its positive employee
relations?

Copyright. 2015. All rights reserved.

Our Purpose
• To begin a conversation
about different ways
employers can (and
should) be using social
media in their positive
employee relations
practices

Copyright. 2015. All rights reserved.

A Simple Premise
• Unions are kicking employers’ butts in social
media
• Penetrating the workforce




Often in stealth
Sometimes in full view
To build support
To run campaigns
To maintain momentum

• Does this, in fact, present opportunities for
employers’ positive employee relations efforts?
Copyright. 2015. All rights reserved.

A look into what unions are doing…

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Steps to a Union Organizing Campaign
unseen by management
– Initial contact from disgruntled
employee(s)*
– Identify leaders/organizing committee
– Develop issues/campaign themes
– Develop/map profile (by department,
shift)
– Build support, quietly
– Investigate company vulnerabilities
– Develop issues/campaign themes

Build majority support
– Go public
– Maintain support
– Attack the company and its issues

Build majority support. After
building your committee and
identifying key issues, you need to
talk openly with your co-workers,
discussing issues, and building
union support. This begins the
“public” phase of your
campaign. Through one-on-one
discussions with workers in your
workplace, evaluate the support
that exists for a union around your
key issues.

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Source: CWA

Traditional Union Tools Include…




Handbilling
Fliers
Telephone Calls
Home visits
Union Salts (or Moles)

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A look into what unions are doing…
“Quick mass organizing through social media
has become synonymous with the term “flash
mob,” so could “flash union organizing” by
labor unions be the next logical step?”

Union organizing with new technology

Facebook
– Worldwide, there are over 1.39 billion monthly
active Facebook users (MAUs) which is a 13 percent
increase year over year. 

Snapchat
– When a user sends a message they get to decide
whether it will live for between 1 and 10 seconds.
After that it’s history, probably.

Twitter
– Good for #Hashtag campaigns

GroupMe
– It's like a private chat room for your small group.
Have as many as you want, and it's always free.
Now, you can coordinate with coworkers, organize a
game night, and keep in touch with family all in the
same place
Copyright. 2015. All rights reserved.

Smart Phones & Texting
• Under the new “ambush election rules”
employers are now REQUIRED to
furnish telephone numbers.

• This includes cell phone numbers

• Unions have been using text messaging
for organizing for a long time.
• Expect texting to increase.
Copyright. 2015. All rights reserved.

Unions & technology
“After going public, we showed unity by
wearing red wristbands, and we adopted a
“brother’s keeper” strategy: when Human
Resources or management would approach a
co-worker to discuss the union, we would
insert ourselves into the conversation or stand
around them so they didn’t feel alone. We
checked up on people in different stores to
make sure they were okay.”
“We also used technology to communicate
and keep those who were weaker confident. I
started a chat with GroupMe, a group
text messaging service, and added
everyone who had signed cards to be
public. We also had CWA organizers,
Verizon landline workers, and our
attorney on the chat. GroupMe helped us
to keep open dialogue about the antiunion rhetoric from management
in each
Copyright. 2015.
All rights reserved.

Organizing with new technology

Coworker.org allows you to start, run
and win campaigns to change your
workplace.

Hmmm…That sounds
like “Concerted
Activity”…

Have an idea for improving your workplace?
Start by creating a Coworker.org petition and
talking to your co-workers about your campaign.
Every day, people are launching and joining
campaigns around issues large and small -- from
improving an office breakroom to providing paid
sick leave to employees. Anything is possible
when co-workers join together.
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Unions are using social media
to appeal to Millennials

“Micah Mitrosky, a 31-year-old IBEW organizer from Local 569, believes there has never
been a better time for unions to reach out to people her age and younger.”
“Labor leaders are learning that reaching younger workers means communicating in new
ways—using technology like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and texting. They also know
that the younger generation has vastly different expectations about work and the work-life
balance than their parents did.”
Source: IBEW, Local 569

Copyright. 2015. All rights reserved.

A look into what unions are doing…

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Still the ‘Grand daddy’ of
them all…

• 151 million users in the
U.S.

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Still the ‘Grand daddy’ of
them all…

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Twitter, by comparison

• Twitter – 15%
• Facebook – 50% (+/-)
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Twitter Campaigns

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Teamsters (Int’l):
197K on FB
29.6K on Twitter

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UFCW (Int’l):
59K on FB
19.5K on Twitter

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To top it off…
E-Signatures To Now Be Used For Petitions!

To paraphrase Vice
President Joe Biden,
“This is a BFD”…maybe
even bigger than BFI.

“The General Counsel’s guidance is effective immediately. The
guidance could be viewed as another example of the Board
bypassing regulatory processes to institute union-friendly
procedures. The practical impact of the guidance is that unions
may immediately use email and social media to gather
signatures with limited review of their authenticity.”

Several unions are already taking advantage of
E-signatures…

“It’s no secret that HR and senior business leaders
are lagging in their adoption and understanding of
social media usage by both their employees as well as
outside entities and organizations like unions who pose
a risk to organizations…”
Jessica Miller-Merrell
Research Reveals How
Labor Unions Use Social Media
February 22, 2012
Copyright. 2015. All rights reserved.

What can YOU do?

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Get your head out of the sand.

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Get Engaged Now…
• Make a decision to engage (or keep your head in the sand)
• If you choose to enter the arena, START NOW
– Developing your audience now is crucial
• Use Social Media for POSITIVE EMPLOYEE RELATIONS
– Internally driven & focused
– Macro and micro groups, pages

• Maintain a constant PER campaign
• Learn to “share” items with your audience
• Keep content constant and fresh
Copyright. 2015. All rights reserved.

What About Text Messaging
• Unions are using it everywhere
• Great tool for positive employee relations



For sharing good news
Celebration of achieving goals
Thanking employees
Links to resources

Copyright. 2015. All rights reserved.

Some Important Items To Consider
• It you wait, it’ll be too late
– Building an audience takes time
– Message penetration takes time
– Focusing on only union issues may have other legal
ramifications
Do you develop ‘closed’
company group?
If so, Macro as well as
Micro (site specific)?
Copyright. 2015. All rights reserved.

Some Important Items To Consider
• Use Mainly As Positive Employee RelationsCentric Tool

• Be aware (but not afraid) of the “share” factor

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Some Important Items To Consider
• ‘To moderate or not to moderate?’ (That is the question.)
– If so, how much? (PG rated is a given…

• Develop commenting rules

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Again, this presentation is a starting point to
begin a conversation about different ways
employers can (and should) be using social media
in their positive employee relations practices
The conversations are
taking place.
The questions you need to
answer are: Will you and
your organization be part
of it? Or, will it take place
behind your back?
Copyright. 2015. All rights reserved.

QUESTIONS?

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