Organizing The Unorganized is the key to building the Union

Publisher:  United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America
Year Published:  1981  
Pages:  4pp  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX2339

This article comments on a policy paper presented for discussion at the 1981 UEW conference in Montreal.

Abstract:  This article comments on a policy paper presented for discussion at the 1981 UEW conference in Montreal. The paper is titled, "Organizing: the Key to Building the Union." Delegates to the conference agreed that the union has to establish local organizing committees and renew efforts "to make every UE member an organizer." In addition to advocating the prioritization of organizing the unorganized, delegates identified the following blocks to organizing: the news media (with its anti-worker, anti-union propaganda), anti-union labour lawyers, the public education system, the fear felt by those in non-union shops and employers who spend millions of dollars on union-busting and on agencies which work to ensure a "union-free" environment.

The policy paper states "that two-thirds of Canadian workers are unorganized and are at the mercy of unscrupulous employees…..the unorganized are a large segment, along with pensioners and welfare recipients, of the 25 percent of Canadians who are struggling to survive on incomes below the government's own poverty line….they work under appalling conditions and have little or no protection….to 'pack it in' and look elsewhere for a job often means they are worse off than before."

This policy paper urges local unions to have a hard look at their potential for assisting in the vital work of building the union - this would involve personal contact/support (with potential members), the formation of local organizing committees and campaigns, and most importantly rank and file involvement in such a process. The paper refers to the early history of the UEW when members personally brought other people into the union. Accordingly, members are urged to continue the original UE tradition - "to get out and organize the unorganized."

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