Labor unions are set up specifically to support the collective interest of workers, so members expect to have a say. To maintain effective representation, it’s important members vote in their elections. But too many labor union members still claim they are unaware of when elections take place and how they can participate.
Here are some simple methods and tactics to effectively promote your next election:
Your union website is a powerful virtual gathering point, so take advantage of it! Prominently advertise the upcoming election or even create an election-specific landing page to ensure anyone visiting the site sees that information.
Utilize your email list for an email campaign dedicated to alerting members when polls open. Be sure to include reminders to vote.
If your union uses social media, communicate through those channels to inform members, ask for feedback, promote the election and get out the vote.
You get a save the date postcard to remind you about an upcoming wedding, you should absolutely get a save the date notification about an upcoming union election! Ballots mailed without any warning are more likely to be discarded, so a simple postcard with educational messaging helps your members prepare to vote.
Candidate biographies (sent in a regular newsletter or mailed separately) help members get to know the candidates before the election begins. Bios are a must-have element of your election education campaign.
Face to Face
Use every in-person opportunity to remind members about an upcoming election.
If your union does not have a regular meeting scheduled, hold a special “election open house” for members to meet the candidates, discover why their participation matters and to learn about the election.
Giveaways in exchange for member attendance and prize drawings are great incentives for people to participate.
Remember, uncontested elections rarely persuade members to participate. Work toward having multiple candidates for every position on the ballot by publicizing the nominations process before the election.
Labor unions are required by federal law to inform members about elections and that they have the right to vote. If your members are dispersed, it may be necessary to offer multiple diverse participation methods (online, via phone, in person, etc.) and/or set up multiple locations to vote.
When you go above and beyond the minimum required notifications and make an effort to reach out to all members, you’ll see the results of your efforts in increased voter participation.
For more information and ideas on how to effectively promote your next labor union election, contact SBS any time, we’re here to help.