Unifor’s Organizing Department is looking for ways to better reflect a modern workplace, adapting our organizing strategies to help more workers join the union.
“We need to reflect the diversity of a changing workplace. We need to target new employers, highlight the bargaining power that we have and the influence we have and really demonstrate why Unifor is the union for workers,” Organizing Director Kellie Scanlan said in a video about Organizing.
The video was shown at Unifor’s Constitutional Convention in August, and highlights the diverse methods used by the department to bring more workers into the union.
One of the workplaces featured in the video is the Chaleur Sawmills in Belledune, N.B., where workers became interested in joining Unifor after seeing the advances that Unifor has been able to make for forestry workers across the country. Unifor was certified as the union at Chaleur shortly after the video was shown at the convention.
It was a similar story in Lac St-Jean, Quebec, where workers at Résolu Normandin voted to join Unifor so they could be part of pattern bargaining in forestry.
“It was unanimous. Unifor, from a forestry point of view in the Bois-du-Lac, is stronger. We noticed immediately that we were better off with Unifor,” said Marc Jobin, president of Local 512 at the mill.
The video highlights organizing drives across Canada and efforts to tailor drives to each workplace.
For example, the department has drawn on Unifor airline workers to help organize workers at WestJet as part of a drive that stretches across the country.
At the casinos in Niagara Falls, Unifor casino workers are an integral part of the effort, where the department is also reaching out to Chinese language workers in their own language.
In British Columbia, Unifor used a unique fisheries labour law to organize fishers there. That law had been on the books for years, but no other union had used it.
“We used it,” Scanlan said.