UCU in every workplace – branches picking up the challenge

A couple of weeks ago, we launched our new initiative to begin to push UCU out into all the workplaces and work areas we represent. UCU in every workplace is an initiative aimed at encouraging more of our members to play an active role in our union by becoming ‘local contacts’. A contact someone who agrees to distribute information for the union, to be the face of the union in their workplace and a point of liaison with our branch committees – particularly in areas where there are no reps. In some areas, contacts are job sharing with our established reps, taking on the profile-raising and communications roles that our reps sometimes struggle to find time for.

Some of our branches have already picked up this idea and run with it. At Glasgow University, for example, the branch have recruited 15 new local contacts. They did this by emailing all the people who ticked the membership form box saying they were willing to get more involved with a personalised letter based on our model text (which you can find here).

The branch at Exeter University recruited 20 people to help the branch by distributing local newsletters, using a similar method. People who ticked the membership box over the last year were added to those who had ticked a box at a recent general meeting and those who had just joined. All received an email asking them to distribute newsletters in their departments and the branch report that 12 out of 20 buildings now have at least one and sometimes as many as three newsletter distributors, in addition to their reps.

UCU’s Organiser in the South-West reports that similar results have been achieved from the same exercise at Cornwall College.

Birmingham University UCU were already building a network of contacts, recruiting 8 volunteers during their recent dispute and now they’re developing a special training and briefing session for their growing network.

Glasgow UCU now intends to identify their departments without a rep or contact and email all the members in these areas with an appeal for help.

The lesson seems to be, keep the job you’re asking members to do small and focused and concentrate the effort effectively and you can get really encouraging results.

Read all our branch reports here:
http://btu.web.ucu.org.uk/reports/

You can read more about UCU in every Workplace here:
http://btu.web.ucu.org.uk/resources/

Find out more about local contacts here:
http://btu.web.ucu.org.uk/files/2013/02/The_role_of_the_contact.pdf

You can download a model letter to send to members in departments with no contact here:
http://btu.web.ucu.org.uk/?attachment_id=150

If you want to find out how to get a list of all the people who have ticked the box to Get Involved over the last year in your branch, contact campaigns@ucu.org.uk

 

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