Unions Trying to Stop Members from Leaving

Some unions are terrified that their membership will shrink dramatically while President Trump is in office. The SEIU slashed its budget by $90 million dollars because it foresees a shortage of members paying into the union’s coffers. Likewise, other unions are laying off and restructuring. I applaud the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, though, for playing offense. The UFCW isn’t sitting back and hoping to weather the Trumpnado; it is proactively trying to rally its troops.

The UFCW released a memo to local labor leaders announcing that it will hold regional meetings to rally union workers to get behind their union. The memo acknowledged that the meetings must showcase the union’s value to workers – something I’ve thought unions should have been doing for years.

The UFCW said that it will share data and tools to help local leaders reach new workers. It then outlined an aggressive growth plan for 2017, saying that it will broaden its membership by 2-3 percent in 2017 – mostly through bargaining so as to avoid costly organizing campaigns and risky secret ballot elections. The UFCW also would like to increase its database of membership cell phone numbers by 10% and raise the union’s profile in the community by staging at least 3 philanthropic events in each local area.

The entrepreneur in me applauds the UFCW’s attitude. The realist in me doesn’t think it will have much impact on the union whose membership has steadily declined over the past 15 years.

Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 285-5342 or email him at Matt@MattAustinLaborLaw.com.