Here’s Some Suggestions On How To Make Your Union’s Monthly Meeting Both Interesting & Useful
Membership meetings are not simply places for Members to get information and cast votes.
Meetings should give Members a sense of power by bringing them together.
They can see and feel that they are not alone, that others have similar problems, and that others have found solutions.
Meetings should give Members the opportunity to observe leaders and potential leaders in action.
They can learn from each other, combine ideas, and build something bigger.
If this doesn’t sound like a Union meeting you’ve ever been to, it’s because many Locals are unknowingly stuck in traditions that almost guarantee that a first-time attendee will not come back, and only the most faithful will persevere.
Although many Union Officers fret about low attendance levels, it is not necessary for democracy that all or most Members attend membership meetings.
Except at contract time and for other special events, most Locals will see only a relatively small, dedicated minority at monthly meetings.
Meetings, especially on a regular basis, are not for everyone.
But Union Meetings can be the chief organizing vehicle for that portion of the Membership that takes Union Work most seriously - the activists.
Coming to the monthly meeting is often one of the first things that Member try when they’re seeking to be more involved - so it’s important not to turn them off!
That means that the success of a meeting is not measured simply by the number attending, but by how that meeting contributes to the control, involvement, activism, and self-confidence of all the Members, both those present and those not.
What “comes out of” the meeting - the plans made, assignments taken, feedback received - are more important than the meeting itself.
So, perk up the agenda.
To improve meetings and boost attendance, start by doing away with the standard meeting announcement that sets out the same uninformative agenda month after month: President’s Report; Committee Reports; Old Business; New Business; and Adjourn (Wake Up!).
Tell Members instead what will actually come up at the meeting.
Make sure they know how to propose agenda points covering their concerns.
Distribute proposed motions in advance.
Put important and controversial items on the agenda.
Discuss issues that will directly affect work situations.
Have votes on policy questions where the vote really makes a difference.
Get rid of the boring reports - print them out and distribute them in advance.
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