Dublin Support Association Membership Drive Update
For many years the actual membership of the Dublin Support Association (DSA) has hovered between 20% - 25% of its potential. Last spring kick-started a renewed effort to engage and mobilize classified employees (ESPs) in preparation for contract bargaining in 2014. The organizing drive began with house visits and one-on-one discussions conducted by teams of OEA staff and DSA Officers that continued throughout the summer.
Howard French, DSA President talks to employees at breakfast meeting at the Dublin Transportation Complex.
Beginning with the advent of the 2013-14 school year and through the end of November, all 19 buildings in the school district were visited to reach out to current and potential members to discuss what they would like to see addressed during contract negotiations. ESPs enjoyed cookouts at the larger buildings through October were they signed a banner with the message “Dublin Support Association-United for a Strong Contract!”
Awareness was increased about ongoing union activities. Prior to each scheduled building visit, announcements were placed in the school mailboxes of each classified employee (ESP) in the building and members were called to encourage to bring a non-member to event. The day of the event, employees were greeted on their way into work by OEA staff with palm cards reminding them of afternoon’s event.
Until these visits began, internal communication was sporadic at best. Many ESPs whose job titles are included in the bargaining unit were unaware of such. They only found out of their inclusion as a result of the visits. More than a few classified staff thought that DSA was a bus drivers’ union. The organizing set out to change this perception.
Association Reps from DSA’s sister local association, the Dublin Education Association (DEA), actively encouraged their sisters and brothers in the classified service to attend these events.
As a result of this organizing drive, DSA became more visible and relevant to current and potential members. The organizing drive sparked renewed interest in ESPs to begin to discuss how they can become more involved in their union to make it stronger and viable for them.
The next stage of this campaign will continue to discuss with ESPs about upcoming contract negotiations, the importance of showing solidarity by increasing membership and actively participating in their union.
The DSA organizing drive has been successful due to the collaboratively efforts of DSA officers, DEA officers, DSA members, DEA members, OEA officers, the DSA/ DEA LRC and the OEA Organizing Department.