There is much talk about growing the membership numbers and in the case of unifor getting bigger but we are getting ahead of ourselves here.
The biggest issue in my opinion is how do we re-engage the members we already have. People have tuned out on our institutions be it government or yes their own union, we ignore this at our own peril.
Giving out tshirts to get members to attend meetings and holding training seminars at the union hall doesn't and never will cut it. We need to go directly to the membership talk to them , educate them but above all get to know them. Get to know the issues they care about and set out to solve them.
Too many of my sisters and brothers in positions of leadership have become too focused on survival that they've forgotten about our greatest asset, the rank and file. Most of whom see little relevancy in the union for their personal lives.
Yes unifor has generated a ton of excitement but that is contained to the usual suspects if you will. I could canvass the shop floor and I bet only a handful would even be vaguely aware of what has happened beyond what they have read in the Sun. THAT is the problem, there is little to no effort to speak directly to the membership in order to counteract the incessant propaganda they are subjected to on a daily basis.
We have abandoned the field of battle, our leadership now akin to moving little tin soldiers around a map of the field totally oblivious to the actual conditions faced by their rank and file. We are losing our own best weapons.How can we grow the movement when our own see little or no reason to belong in the first place.
So that is my challenge to everyone in a position of leadership, get out of your comfy chairs and go visit your locals, talk to the people get to know them at least as well as those you lobby. Educate them on the issues and solutions, you never know we might just become stronger in the process.