I was asked a while back, “Does organizing work”? I’m here to let you know that it does. Not the way we would like it to work, but it does. I came into this job with this big plan that I was going to get the non-union people and companies to sign up, but alas, I was brought back down to earth. Yes, I used the word alas, not because it did not work, but because it’s a slow process.
The first thing I had to learn about was trust. The non-union knows nothing about me or the union. That was something I knew nothing about until I was told by other organizers that trust is a big thing with the non-union. That was something I had to learn.
The second thing was communication. I found that I was not communicating very well because I was union and I had all the answers. I was talking so much that I was really not listening to the non-union about his or hers problems. If you’re talking to the non-union, listen and you might hear what he or she is saying.
Third, is staying in contact. I found I would go and talk, then end up doing so many other things that I would lose contact with the non-union people. When you lose contact, you lose that non-union person. If you talk to the non-union, staying in contact helps build that trust.
Last but not least is retirement benefits. We in the union have what’s called a Pension. The non-union may have a 401(k) plan. They will tell you they know all about it and so on and so on.
Where I’m going with this is that YES, ORGANIZING DOES WORK! I’m out there as much as I can, talking to the non-union telling them what the union has to offer him or her. I can’t do it by myself or be in 5 places at once. We have a lot of organizers out there and that’s you! If you stop to talk to the non-union or bring a person into the hall, then you have done some organizing. You may not believe it, but you have. With your help we can make our union strong, so let’s do this together. If you talk to a non-union person, try to remember those things like listening and trust.
The last thing brothers and sisters, is about jobs. Please do not tell them I can get them a job.
I cannot. I’m the organizer. I can get them information and help them register at the union hall. They can call the hall at 206-728-7654 and I can try to help them.
Remember, they rent your body, they don’t own it!
Your Organizer, Brother Tony Kimbrough