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Who Will Light the Fuse? –

Sitting in our hands – a potential Powder Keg of social power! This Blog will talk about the internal use of Mass Texting in unions from locals to internationals.

New communication methods such as mass texting, mass email and smartphone apps have to be used to have any chance of reasserting labor union independence and POWER. Have to!

Once the membership is connected internally, the power we will have will effect change in organizing, community outreach, income inequity, advancing our apprenticeships, recruiting, defending workers’ rights, Opposition Research, and provide political influence not seen since the 50’s. It’s useful for benefit funds, rumor control, being sales engines for union contractors, and much more. These technologies are absolutely possible right now, and, on top of it, far LESS expensive than any or all forms of communication currently being used. In addition, they’re totally measurable and provide structured interactive engagement of the membership.

Link the locals and district councils together with the Building Trades Internationals and we in the trades union MOVEMENT finally join the 21st century in empowering workers, both union and not, in North America.

The leverage of 3 million plus BT members in North America combined with Brother Mc Garvey and our IP’s will have real power to advance the BT’s on behalf of us all.

Worried it is too complicated? Here is an example of a mass texting interface:


It is point and click!

  • Text message, 160 characters, can use links/URL’s in message, fast, effective, targeted, inexpensive, mobile. Example – a death notice sent by local to members, happens all the time unfortunately. Postage for a postcard is .35, times the membership, let’s use a 750-member mailing = $262.50 and does not include postcard, printing and labor. Mass Text at approx. current rate = .0325 cents times 750 = $24.38. Think of all the mailing that we do at the reduced and full postage rates and the timeliness of the snail mail, if it connects at all. Think printing, paper and labor costs.

Texting is timely, measurable, instant and reaches members regardless of location plus other considerations. Think of all the applications! Also know that specific targeted lists can be used to only text those that need to receive information. So retirees, apprentices, even more granular, 2nd period apprentices, volunteer committees, etc… Get it!?!

What Makes a good texting vendor? You should have these kinds of features:

  • Schedule your texts – union meetings for example. All set for year and loaded, will go out when scheduled along with reminders and links, like Golf Outing, Pin Party, Health Fairs after the meeting, etc… Do them all in January and you’re done in one shot.
  • Mobile websites are an easy way to provide more information that can be sent in a text. Send a headline and a link. Mobile websites should be INCLUDED in price of plan and easy enough to use that they can be built by officer’s/office staff. This allows the union to put larger amounts of info in the text thru a link to the mobile website. So numbers, directions, purpose, contacts and whatever info the union needs to convey. Example here is perhaps a Job Fair – we still collect contact info the old and outdated way and is pretty close to useless. We still give out paper flyers to this generation – right! Get the prospect’s cell number and text them!
  • Use the auto-responder feature to automate text messages. In our job fair example above, you could keep up with prospect and/or potential recruitee! Can be tailored to who you are interacting with including a mobile website and links to YouTube videos about a career in the trades! Just one of many uses. (Think about how you could use this for organizing!)
  • The union can conduct a poll or a questionnaire to get real time input from members across a whole host of activities. From RSVP’s on events including the collection of event fees, to getting feedback on the latest negotiations. Who is going to attend, what are the discussion points. Who are we supporting. Will you volunteer? Polls and Questionnaires can also use auto-responders to respond to the answer(s) or responses. All info is displayed in charts or graphs for easy assessment of the results. Leadership can enable 2-way communications to get actual input and opinions when needed. Can also use it to pass the hat should a member get hurt or have a need that the membership would help with. No need to wait on a poorly attended meeting to help our Brothers and Sisters, can do it whenever.
  • QR Code generator, should be included in price. Can be use in numerous ways such as handouts, notices, union contractor info, careers, Handbills, cards, etc… When the QR code is scanned by any typical smartphone takes you to detailed info on the subject at hand.
  • Email Integration to/from excel for use with other platforms and for development. Also the system can separate landlines from cell numbers.
  • Authorized number security for those that can access the platform and send texts. Also any platform should be totally mobile which means that an authorized user can use their cell phone to access and send texts/info anywhere the phone is connected.
  • Many other applications for the mass texting platform which for the most part should be included in price. Example on your union anniversary date, birthday, special drawing – the participating member may get a discount at a union friendly service and then both parties win!
  • Can use texts to collect emails of members and explain how the union will be building an even more powerful platform of communications and not SPAM.
  • Quick to set up as in hours/days if cells are on an Excel spreadsheet and internal training is conducted in timely period.
  • Great vendors have a low one time set up fee, small monthly fee to access texting platform, (unless a union wants to buy its own short code.) The fee for per text cost should be competitive and not have any, or very MINIMAL extras. Great vendors do NOT have a contract for service and a union should be able to get out quickly if services are not up to par.

Many text vendors charge for all sorts of EXTRAS, that’s how they make their money. An example of this would be Lists or Keywords as they are called and is a way that a mass texting platform makes money. Good vendors will include Keyword Lists which can be many for a union in the price.

How we communicate the need for internal mass texting, mass email and smartphone apps is key to success and power. Many leaders that have attended our program have those skills and many educate their members on the very real need to go paperless, being timely/instant in communications and inexpensive saving substantial amounts of money for the membership in the process.

Those that drag their feet and have every reason to fail are killing the unions mission to close income inequities and resurgence of unions and the Middle Class in North America.

Politicians want to control and blame, leaders enable membership and are accountable.

For bigger documents and for contemporary use of member engagement mass emails and Smart phone APPs fill out a locals/DC/BT or internationals ability to run in today’s world. An entire communications platform is much less expensive and very timely in delivering essential union information across all quadrants.

Once this type of internal platform is in place – the sheer leverage of this platform and then how we engage social media is night and day compared to what we do now! We are then in a position to flex some serious muscle from political and community to business and change our stars and perception.

The membership is a POTENTIAL POWDER KEG of power sitting untapped.

Motions need to be made across the US and Canada and Light the Fuse!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising/Labor Combat

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