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I work in a small IT company. There are a number of changes and improvements in working conditions that I and my co-workers would like to have management make. However, my co-workers insist on individually asking for these, rather than using the power of collectively organising and bargaining through the IT Professionals union.

What is a good process to go through to convince them of the benefits of unionism?

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – enderland Mar 31 '16 at 21:36
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What is a good process to go through to convince them of the benefits of unionism?

You need to show them the benefit of doing so.

Before you take any action, individually or not, it would be good to get together and talk about it. Because you are perfectly right that people in a group have more power than each of them individually.

The first step would be to invite them for a beer (or barbecue) after hours and talk about what you all want from your employer.

When you know what you want, it's time to talk about how to reach it. If you think a union is the way to go, you will need to present the benefits of a union over not joining a union. Maybe you can get a union representative to join your second meeting and explain those benefits.

A word of warning: you have not mentioned any benefit of joining a union here. You have not convinced anyone here. Be prepared that you need more facts to convince any of your colleagues.

And in the end, be prepared to do this without joining a union if your colleagues do not want to do so. Joining a union is a means to an end, don't lose sight of your actual goal over choosing a tool to reach it.

  • In addition to showing the benefits you need to also openly discuss the problems. There a significant downsides in joining a union these need to be weighed against the benefits. I worked twice in a union shop and was forcibly enrolled in a Union once. Really bad experiences and I will avoid Unions like the plague – Hilmar Mar 31 '16 at 15:52
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    and don't forget the standard union tactics of 'convincing' someone that it's in their 'best interests'. You know, 'protection' against flat tires, broken windows, off the job injuries. – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Mar 31 '16 at 16:49
  • I'm honestly scared of Unions. Some of the tactics feel like you are dealing with criminals. – Nelson Apr 5 '16 at 6:34
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Don't go this on your own. The union will have the experience of having gone through the unionization process of shops so they will have at very least an informal road map.

The fact that this union is specific to your industry is a serious bonus in this respect. The process for unionizing a grocery store would have nuanced differences from unionizing an IT shop as grocers have different workplace concerns from IT people.

For what you can and should do personally. Through this process be respectful of the fact that you are asking for an investment of trust, money, and time of your co-workers. Always keep in mind that unionization is a solution to a problem so to have your coworkers come on board you need them to agree that a problem exists and that unionization is the appropriate solution to it. Respect their opinions and concerns even if they don't match your own.

My grandma used to say that if your only tool is a hammer, all problems look like nails. Based on your posts here unionization seems to be the one note of your song, so don't be surprised if your co-workers don't enthusiastically hop on board.

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    You need to look at it from each employee's point of view, and be able to explain why it is a good thing for that employee. To me, everyone being paid the same looks like a serious disadvantage. Will that be the case for some of the individuals you are trying to convince? What benefits will overcome that disadvantage for each employee? – Patricia Shanahan Mar 31 '16 at 15:34

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