Getting a good deal is not just about the work of your bargaining team and what happens at the table. The biggest victories at the table come from pressure outside of the bargaining room: from union members who show support for their union and work together to mobilize – both in and outside the workplace.
Mobilization means getting engaged
- spreading the word by handing out leaflets to other members and/or the public
- participating in membership meetings and other events
- posting and sharing bargaining information or messages on social media
- wearing things like buttons, pins or specific clothing to show support for bargaining while at work
- putting up bargaining posters on workplace bulletin boards or your office/cubicle walls
- talking to your co-workers about the issues and encouraging them to support mobilization as well
- writing, calling, or tweeting politicians to ask for their support
And mobilization can also include attending public rallies with others to send a message to your employer that you won’t accept less than you deserve and you’re not backing down!
Why mobilization matters
In bargaining, every employer is constantly assessing the level of membership support for the union’s negotiating position. The more convinced the Employer is of support, the more likely bargaining will go well.
PSAC members who work for the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) saw the positive difference mobilization made in their last round of bargaining.
“The management team had indicated they had reached the end of their mandate at the table on some of the big-ticket items and would be unable to meet with us until they were provided new directives from senior management and the Board. This board meeting in March 2018 was a crucial event and so we took advantage of the timing to mobilize members in signing a petition to reaffirm support of the bargaining team,” said bargaining team member Mano Buckshi.
“We received over 90% support for the petition, which was critical for sending a strong message of unity from our members on their top concerns for the collective agreement,” added team member Adrian Di Giovanni. “In the bargaining sessions immediately following delivery of the petition we saw significant movement from Management on the issues targeted in the petition, which culminated in a successful final agreement.”
Without that involvement and support of the members, the bargaining would likely have dragged out for much longer, possibly ending up in a strike or lockout situation.
“Mobilization is an effective way to demonstrate to the employer the solidarity of the members and the power of the bargaining team. It puts into perspective for the employer that they’re not just negotiating with the few union reps at the table but the hundreds or thousands of workers with them,” says PSAC regional representative Nairra Tarriq.