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365 Tips for Professional Union Organizers

by Bob Oedy

Pub Date: July 5th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-4566-3330-1

A veteran union organizer offers pointers for those who are new to organizing and activism.

In this book of career advice, Oedy, the author of Bigger Labor (2008), shares stories from his decades of work as an organizer. The 365 pieces of advice here range from brief reminders to return phone calls promptly and learn the names of contacts to longer discussions of how to identify allies to one’s cause, how to oversee certification processes, and how to be a strong public speaker—all illustrated with specific examples from Oedy’s career. Much of the book covers topics that are particularly relevant to trade-union organizing, although portions will be applicable to readers in other kinds of activist and organizing roles (“Do you know your Collective Bargaining Agreement inside-and-out?”), but other portions contain information that will be of use to anyone in the workforce, such as “Set Big Goals for Yourself.” Oedy takes deep dives into some topics, as in a list of 101 reasons why people join labor unions, which covers obvious and less obvious motivations. At other points, the book’s approach is offbeat but clearly drawn from experience, as when the author advises readers to avoid keeping golf clubs in their cars (“eventually someone is going to assume this is how you spend your days when you should be working”). Oedy’s conversational tone makes the book an enjoyable read, and readers will feel as if they’re listening in on a veteran teaching a newbie the tricks of the trade. Indeed, readers who have no knowledge of organizing will have no trouble following the text, as the author follows his own advice and avoids using acronyms and jargon.

A solid book of union-organizing advice that will be useful to a wide range of readers.