How We’re Surviving Right to Work: Boston Postal Workers Use Grievances to Build the Union

Source: Alexandra Bradbury, Labor Notes, May 16, 2017

Federal-employee unions are all open shop. Yet the Postal Workers (APWU) Boston Metro Area Local, representing 2,100 workers, hovers around 94 percent membership.

“I think the key is get to them as often as you can, early in their career,” says General President Scott Hoffman. At each new-hire orientation, a representative walks new hires through the benefits the union has won. A week later there’s another chance, at the training session for window clerks. “We ask who still hasn’t joined or had anybody talk to them,” Hoffman says. “Try to get as many bites at the apple as you can in the beginning.” ….

Dispatches from the Front Lines of Right to Work
The open shop is the rule for private sector workers in 28 “right-to-work” states, for public sector workers in 25 states, and for federal workers all over this country. That means workers covered by a union contract get to enjoy the benefits of representation without being members or paying dues.
But even in states and sectors where membership is legally optional, some unions have high percentages of workers signed up as members. How do they do it? This month we asked union leaders representing:
Oil refinery workers in Nevada
Postal workers in Boston
Teachers in Milwaukee
For a short exercise to help your union start preparing to survive an open shop click here. ….