How do you talk to a workplace leader who isn’t on board with the union?

Natural workplace leaders are crucial to the success of any organizing campaign, but they may need to be convinced to join. Here are a few tips on how to win over any recalcitrant but critical co-workers.

Verbal conversations, whether over the phone or in-person, are what drive campaigns. Not everyone can be a persuader, but there are already workplace leaders who are having conversations with their co-workers everyday — people who already, instinctively build the relationships we will rely on. We need those leaders on our side if we’re going to win.

Appeal to Their Strengths

Just because they are a workplace leader doesn’t mean they’ll be a supporter, and that’s where we’ll need tact, flattery, and direct asks. Start off just as you would any organizing conversation: open-ended questions, agitation, and making a case for unionization. Inoculate.

Now appeal to their particular influence and fill in as appropriate: “We’ve looked around and realized you’re the one who actually gets people to every happy hour. When you invite people, they come. When you eat lunch in the break room, people join and chat.”

Shift to Why They Should Care

Make a personal appeal: “We’ve been talking with our co-workers, and they can’t go another month without adequate healthcare, but things won’t change if just a few of us are speaking up. The people you bring to happy hours are the ones who really need the improvements we could win with a union. We need these changes, but in order to get them, we need you. You’re the one who can actually bring people to union meetings, who can get people to the bargaining table, and who can help us collectively negotiate to improve all of our jobs.”

End with a Direct Ask

It could be an ask to come to our next union meeting, to connect us with another coworker, or to help map a department. We cannot shy away from this ask, even if they are yet to be a strong “yes” vote. 

Getting a leader like this involved and actually showing them the influence they have, will get us further down the path towards a strong majority.

Talk with an Organizer

An EWOC organizer is ready to help you and your co-workers get the benefits and respect you deserve.

Recent Posts
United and Winning

We’re excited to announce the upcoming release of our brand new guide, “Unite and Win: the Workplace Organizer’s Handbook.”

Read More »