Watch the video – Alabama Mercedes worker Jeremy Kimbrell shares the seven steps he and his coworkers have used to organize their plant.
Download the Flyer – A companion to the video, this flyer briefly explains the seven steps and has discussion questions to strengthen your organizing team.
What are the Seven Steps?
Our strategy is called “30 – 50 – 70.” When 30% of our coworkers sign union cards, we go public. When 50% of our coworkers sign union cards, we rally. When 70% of our coworkers sign union cards, we demand recognition and file for an election.
Workers at Mercedes in Alabama just hit 30% on cards. Here are the steps they took to organize their workplace — and the steps you can take to organize your own!
Step One: Build a Team
You can’t organize alone. A strong team that plans together and shares the work is the foundation for success. Ideally, build a team that is representative of the workplace, with coworkers from every department and shift.
Step Two: Recruit Leaders
The people we recruit to our team need to be able to bring others with them. These should be coworkers who are respected and appreciated. If you don’t have workplace leaders on your team, you won’t get very far.
Step Three: Map Your Networks
Ask yourself: how many people can each person connect with? The answer can help you cover a lot of ground quickly. Find the tugger drivers, team leads, and floor walkers and recruit them to your team. The goal is to reach as many of your coworkers as possible as often as possible.
Step Four: List Work
Build an organizational chart. Identify everyone who works in each area of the plant. Then talk to everyone and identify who is with you. Track who has signed union cards and who hasn’t. Is one of the card signers widely respected by coworkers in their area? Recruit them to your team! Is one area a union hotbed? Reach out and see if they can talk to coworkers in nearby departments.
Step Five: Be Public
We aren’t going to win by organizing in secret. We need to be visible and vocal.
Step Six: Win People Over
Our goal is to win our coworkers, not write them off. If someone doesn’t want to join the union, don’t be disrespectful. Instead, look at them as an equal and encourage them to stand with their coworkers to take action and make their workplace a better place for everyone. Our greatest strength is each other!
Step Seven: Seize Opportunities
It’s often said that management is the best organizer. Management call unexpected overtime? Did they make a change to benefits for the worse? It’s important to be on the lookout for issues that can help unite everyone and demonstrate our collective power by taking action together.
STAND UP & SIGN YOUR UNION CARD!
UAW autoworkers just won historic raises at the Big Three: Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis. Now it’s our turn.
We are forming a union with the UAW. Together, we’ll have the power to win better pay, better benefits and a better life.