How long does it take for a local union to add organizing to their local union philosophy and how long does it take to become successful? Just ask Local 358 (Richmond, Virginia) Financial Secretary Ted Constable and President Ray Daniels, because they have been there!
After getting being elected as officers of the local, Constable and Daniels were convinced that if their local union was to survive, they would have to organize. They also believed they would have to utilize computer technology in their efforts. After honing their computer skills and using them to manage organizing data and potential member information and later developing communications tools, Constable and Daniels began the first of many organizing campaigns to come.
As Constable put it, “We learned the hard way when we started, but we learned from our mistakes. The International Union educated us on how to organize and then they provided the ground support during the campaigns.”
Their first organizing effort was at the I.B.C. thrift stores in Hampton, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, and Newport News, Virginia, and they won! The next effort was a plastics company that produced plastic caps for spice bottles (since the local represents a spice company), but this effort failed. Then it was on to the Kraft Warehouse Customer Logistics warehouse in Chesapeake and Richmond, Virginia, where they had their second taste of victory. The next organizing effort at the huge Supervalu Warehouse (Richmond, Virginia) failed, but the local union did win the support of more than 150 workers employed there. The local union’s most recent victory just occurred with the I.B.C. drivers in Portsmouth, Virginia.
Constable and Daniels have been successful in introducing an organizing culture into Local 358 and they have big plans for the future. The local has two on going organizing campaigns at the present time.
“Our goal is to add more than 350 new members at newly organized shop by the end of 2009,” stated Constable.
Stay tuned, as we will report on their progress!