Build union power in your workplace
In organizing our jobs it is important to talk to our fellow workers. We want to build relationships with them. To do this we have 1 on 1 conversations with them. We talk with them and learn about the issues at work and thus in life that we each care about. Doing this in a structured way makes these conversations more effective.
Agitation ultimately boils down to getting people to question authority. Someone asks, “What are they doing to us? Why are they doing it? Is it right?” Encourage people to ask, “Who is making the decisions, who is being forced to live with the decisions, and why should that be so?” People should not accept a rule or an answer simply because it comes from the authorities, whether that authority be the government, the boss, the union - or you. An effective organiser encourages their fellow workers to think for themselves.
The primary task of an organiser is to build more organisers and the way to do this is to constantly replace yourself. Here’s a few easy ways to help build your successors:
Reveal your sources so others can think with you. Telling others where you got an idea from demonstrates that you think of them as equals. You also provide an opportunity for them question your sources. Show others how it’s done and take them through the process. Pass on the technical know-how so others can be ‘experts’ just like you.
Encourage people because you believe in them and you know they can do it. You run faster for coaches that want to win. We’ve got to show that what we do matters and that we believe in each other.
Ask people to do things that are difficult. Move them to take on responsibilities outside their comfort level. We need to help others break out and step up. It’s a sign of respect to ask people to do difficult things.
Train your replacement for an officer position. If we train new officers properly and regularly, we can avoid crust and dust in our leadership structures.
Encourage other members to read what you’ve read. In making trade union history and principles accessible, you cut down on the knowledge monopoly and pass on valuable lessons and experiences.
Introduce people to each other and have them exchange phone numbers. By introducing and ensuring info exchange, you avoid ‘Old Boys Clubs’ and now information doesn’t have to go through you.
The task that we have as reps is to build working class leaders everywhere we go. We are constantly looking for opportunities to teach others what we know so that they could do what we do without us.
DON'T ORGANISE ALONE!
Like all working class activity, organising is a collective endeavour. Contact the PCS Rank & File Network and join up with other working people who will be more than willing to help you. We can also provide resources which will be of vital importance in any organising drive, no matter how small. Together we can do the things that we cannot do alone.