On Sept 28, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would hear the case known as Janus v. AFSCME, a thinly-veiled assault on the freedom to form strong unions and have a voice at work. In anticipation of this ruling, in which the Court could potentially to do away with closed union shops (also known as agency shops) and impose “Right to Work” for public sector workers in all 50 states, IBEW Local 1245 has been developing robust Volunteer Organizing Committees (VOCs) at our public sector properties, in order to keep our union strong and achieve 100% re-authorization for voluntary dues-paying membership.
Below is a snapshot of some of the work that our VOCs have been doing in recent weeks:
City of Redding held an all-day training on Sept. 11. They expanded their VOC from four members to nine, listed out 45 members, and identified additional recruits for the VOC.
SMUD held its first all-day training at the Union Hall on Sept. 12. 22 members signed up for the VOC, listed 110 co-workers they will reach out to through one-on-one conversations, and zeroed in on 22 top-priority prospects to recruit for the VOC. The next meeting will take place in late October or early November.
City of Vallejo had a high turnout at the monthly Unit Meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 13, thanks in part to the deliberate outreach by five members of the VOC. More than 28 members attended to learn more about the Janus threat and our strategy to keep the union strong. The VOC is currently up to 10 members. We aim to reach 20 members with whom we’ll conduct a training.
MID continues to build the VOC.
Sacramento Regional Transit‘s VOC met after their regular Unit Meeting on Sept. 20 to design the roll-out and timeline for the collection of authorization cards. They aim to begin their collection of signed authorization cards in Oct/Nov. The next meeting of the VOC/kick-off for collecting cards is Oct. 9.
Three VOC members from the City of Lodi met at the union hall to map out their roll-out of the new authorization card for voluntary dues paying members. They have already spoken to 100% of their unit at the City. They kicked off the collection of new cards at the Hall on Sept. 27 and aim to complete the re-authorization campaign by Oct. 12. They are our first group to hit the ground with the cards.
City of Healdsburg held its first training on Sept. 26. Five VOC members brainstormed 38 additional prospects they intend to recruit to their next VOC meeting on October 26.
City of Lompoc held an all-day training on Sept. 19. Ten members participated, including a mix of seasoned and newer members. All 10 committed to join the VOC. They had a lively discussion about how to talk to their co workers about the union difference in their lives and the urgency to organize voluntary membership campaign. Their next VOC meeting is scheduled for Oct. 4.
If you are interested in getting involved or joining a VOC at your worksite, contact your Business Rep or email email@example.com.
–Eileen Purcell, IBEW 1245 Staff Organizer