Local 1014 leaders look to build next generation of activists, create 500 new member kits

Tim O’Daniel and his fellow Local 1014L leaders understand the importance of engaging new members right as they come through the door of Akron General Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

The past few years have made that difficult as their employer, like many in health care, moved their employee orientations to virtual meetings as opposed to in-person.

This year, however, the local will begin meeting with new hires face-to-face once again, and they’re hitting the ground running by creating 500 custom new member kits.

O’Daniel, who is the long-time president of Local 1014L, said engaging with new members is incredibly important, especially in health care, which is experiencing unprecedented challenges.

“Right now, the sector is struggling. I’ve never seen vacancies like this; people are leaving the sector in droves,” said O’Daniel. “People are burnt out, and workplace violence is a major problem.”

Because of this high turnover, O’Daniel wants to ensure the new members understand the value of a union and how people are working behind the scenes on a daily basis to fight for them. He believes this is vital for a union as big as theirs, which hovers around 835 members who work across dozens of departments.

“They have rights, but if you don’t know your rights you might assume you don’t have any,” said O’Daniel.

New members of Local 1014L will now each receive a folder including a variety of resources, including: a copy of their contract, Weingarten cards, a welcome brochure from the USW, a letter from O’Daniel, information on the dues structure, current officers list, and the local union meeting schedule.

O’Daniel said that if other union leaders are looking to create their own custom kits, they can find plenty of resources on the USW website. They can also reach out to Lisa Jordan in the USW Education Department to get copies of brochures and other handouts.

“You can always build upon them and tweak them,” he said.

For O’Daniel, getting members engaged and educated right at the beginning of their journey is all about growing the next generation of labor activists and ensuring the survival of the union.

“I’ve been here for more than 40 years, and I want to make sure the local is in the same condition or better than I found it in,” said O’Daniel. “Both me and our vice president want to make sure we leave it in good hands.”

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