The Three Types of Members
Every now and then I am asked to speak to a group of union leaders or members about the type of communications we do at UCOMM. Some of you reading this may have experienced that and I hope it was a wonderful experience.In doing communications management for organized labor we must understand the mindset of who is reading your message and be prudent in crafting your message that resonates to all. So basically, there are three different kinds of members.
The first are my favorites - they are your rabble rousers, your activists. They like picketing, rallying, protesting, flipping cop cars, etc. Every union has them, and channeling their fury can be both exhausting yet incredibly effective when managed correctly.
The second type of members is your social butterfly. They like happy hour, bowling, softball, picnics - anything fun. These essential members are key in your constant efforts to build solidarity. They may not like to be aggressive during contract negotiations, but they are more than happy to wear a button and pose for the group picture and even get others to join in as well.
The third type of member, well... sucks. Selfish, bitter, rotten and lost. They weren't raised right and no matter what you do, or their co-workers do, they travel with a constant black cloud above them and nobody wants them around. It stinks that Duty of Fair Representation regulations require that we keep them around and most good unionist are obligated to help them, but let's be honest, you just wish that member retired, quits or takes a long vacation to Syria.
In understanding your different types of members, you can get complex and creative in your communications. Try to frame your messaging to relate to that first and second type of member, and don't get frustrated when that third type lives up to their stereotype. If your mindful of this and make efforts to improve your communications you will get results.