Member Stories

10 steps to using benefits in union organizing

Union Plus benefits can be an invaluable tool for signing up new members for your union!

  1. Understand your members' needs.
  2. Know the programs.
  3. Train your committee.
  4. Appoint or elect a benefits coordinator.
  5. Integrate benefits strategy into the overall campaign.
  6. Develop special benefits materials for each campaign.
  7. Union Privilege can help you respond to member questions.
  8. Understand how to use the financial programs.
  9. Continually evaluate.
  10. Consult with Union Privilege.

1. Understand your members' needs. Conduct a survey to find out your members' awareness of the national Union Plus benefits and to determine interest in local benefits. Click here for an example of a survey to send to your members.

2. Know the programs. Understand the key benefits of each program. The more you know about each program, the better informed your members will be. An easy way to learn about Union Plus program is to use them yourself!

3. Train your committee. Take advantage of our resources to help you in conducting training on the Union Plus programs. To order these materials, call Union Privilege at 1-800-472-2005, e-mail [email protected] or print and return this material order form.

4. Appoint or elect a benefits coordinator. You may want to form a special benefits committee to focus on benefits strategy including development of special local benefits to supplement the national programs. The committee should include representatives from any organizing or negotiating committees. A benefits coordinator should be appointed to help coordinate all activities and be the one point of contact.

5. Integrate benefits strategy into the overall campaign. Position the benefits in coordination with the overall theme for the campaign. Examples include:

  • Family-focused ("Benefits to Help Your Families Live Better.")
  • Collective empowerment ("Through the power of our union and the AFL-CIO")
  • Money savings ("It doesn't cost to be a union member - It pays!")

Give careful consideration to the timing of the rollout of each benefit. An early rollout gives management more time to counter the benefits with programs of their own, rollout too late may not give enough time for the benefits to make an impact.

6. Develop special benefits materials for each campaign. Benefits lend themselves well to fliers, brochures, newsletter articles, e-mail communications, posters, window decals and coupons. Many unions hold meetings or events with benefits as a focus, such as lunch-n-learn meetings, benefits fairs, raffles, etc. See samples of approaches used in other successful campaigns. Click here for digital banners and print materials that you are free to use!

7. Union Plus can help you respond to member questions. If you members want to learn more or need assistance with Union Plus programs, you may either refer them to our frequently asked questions, call the Union Plus leader line at 1-800-472-2005, or e-mail [email protected].

8. Understand how to use the financial programs: We can't guarantee every member will qualify for every credit card or mortgage that Union Plus offers, but we can guarantee that they understand every program and have a clear understanding of how the decisions are made. Tell your members to call the Union Plus Member Advocate at 1-800-472-2005 to resolve such an issue.

For union members looking for help, Union Plus Credit Counseling has many free debt management services for union members.

9. Continually evaluate. Are the benefits helping you reach your objectives? Are members satisfied with the programs? What more can be done? You must continually evaluate if the benefits are working for you.

10. Consult with Union Plus. Union Plus has an organizing expert with vast experience on staff. We can review materials for accuracy before printing. Discuss strategy with us. Call 1-800-472-2005 or you send an e-mail to [email protected].