NFFE Local 1904 Uses Multiple Strategies to Maintain Status as Fastest Growing NFFE Local
The leaders of National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) Local 1904 know that the best kind of organizing strategy is one that is sustained and consistent. It has been Local 1904’s steady approach to building membership over the last two years that has made the lodge – comprised of NFFE-IAM members who work as medical professionals at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in New Orleans, Louisiana and surrounding areas – NFFE’s fastest growing Local in both calendar years 2017 and 2018, a very impressive accomplishment indeed.
Building on the organizing success of the last two years, NFFE Local 1904’s commitment to growth has continued into 2019. The local has added dozens of new members in recent months by effectively introducing the union to new hires at new employee orientations. New employee orientations, sometimes called “NEOs,” represent the best possible time to bring new employees into the union because for many employees, orientation is the only time the union will have a worker’s undivided attention to talk about the union. It’s a time union leaders can educate new employees on the importance of union membership and the benefits of it. Delivering a consistently positive message about the union at NEOs has been instrumental to Local 1904’s success in building membership.
Like many other of the best organizing locals in our union, NFFE Local 1904 utilizes multiple strategies concurrently for building membership. For example, the Local has partnered with benefits providers that provide dues-paying union members access to superior benefits – like dental, life insurance, and short-term disability, just to name a few – that are unequivocally better and substantially more cost-effective than government options most federal employees unwittingly purchase. These union member-only benefits save many Local 1904 members hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars per year. Working with benefits providers has been key to Local 1904 providing value that members feel in their pocketbooks, and it has paid off with membership growth.
Another strategy that has worked to build membership at Local 1904 is periodically having mid-day events where members and not-yet-members alike are invited to come, have lunch, and learn about the union, an event often referred to as a “lunch-and-learn.” In late February, a team of Local 1904 local leaders held a lunch-and-learn that was attended by NFFE National Business Representatives Amy Burns and Elizabeth Pittaluga, benefits providers, and NFFE National President Randy Erwin. Lunch was served to thank the long-serving members for their participation while interested bargaining unit employees had an opportunity to learn how to join the fight for a better future by joining the union by becoming active in it. The organizing event was a great success!
“I am so proud of all that NFFE Local 1904 has accomplished through organizing over the last couple years,” said President Erwin. “The leaders of this local understand the importance of organizing every day. It’s not something they do once or twice a year, but consistently, day-in and day-out. They have a dedicated group of leaders and as the Local continues to consistently grow its ranks, they are going to be able to do great things for members, their families, and the community in which they live. Congratulations to all the members and leaders of NFFE Local 1904!”
If your local is interested in growing its membership and strengthening its voice at the bargaining table and on Capitol Hill, contact your National Business Representative or NFFE-IAM Organizer Bridget Fitzgerald (firstname.lastname@example.org | 301-213-4189) to request help. They can connect you with benefits providers who work regularly with NFFE locals. They can also assist your local in developing a winning strategy for new employee orientations.