By DAVID A. COOK
I have promised that your union family will never stop looking for new ways to meet the challenges that unions face in the 21st century. One of the most significant of these challenges is communicating with our partners and the general public.
Last week, Local 655 took yet another step in meeting this challenge by becoming the first UFCW Local in the country to live stream our regular monthly meetings. Our meeting was broadcast live on Facebook for the whole world to see, and I was thrilled to see so many of our partners join us during the broadcast.
PROGRESS IN A ‘DIGITAL WORLD’
It’s true that turning out hundreds of our partners to regular meetings at your Union Hall would be wonderful, and those of you that know me will know how much I enjoy speaking to a crowd. But the reality is that we live in a world much different than the one many of us knew when we joined the Labor Movement. There is a massive and sprawling digital world out there, and this Local – along with all of Labor – has to rise to meet that new world.
We want your Union to be accessible to you, but we also want it to be accessible to the general public. Union meetings shouldn’t be secretive and shadowy things hidden away behind a curtain. We are democratically run, and the core of our mission is to fight for our partners and workers everywhere.
Is there any reason why we wouldn’t want our partners and the public to know precisely what we do, how we do it, and why? Of course not.
In the coming months, we will be expanding our video content. Our live meetings will soon be available not just on Facebook, but also on our website and other social media platforms, like Instagram and YouTube.
We will be rolling out a new video program answering questions from you, our hard-working partners that will help us show just how valuable the union is for you.
Some of you are reading this column on the back page of the Labor Tribune, but more than likely there are many of you reading this on your computer, smartphone, or tablet, because this edition of the Labor Tribune is the first one that is available to all of our partners online and completely free.
Many of us love the feeling of the paper in our hands as we take in the news, but that’s not how most content is consumed today. Most people are getting their news, their newsletters, their daily correspondences of one kind or another, directly to their pockets in digital form. If I didn’t make sure Local 655 partners had the same level of service and the same quality of communication, then I wouldn’t be serving you to the best of my ability.
THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
For those of you that saw our meeting online last week, you know that there are even more developments on the horizon. UFCW Local 655 is currently in contact with developers to create an app for our partners. Just like the move toward video or live events broadcast online, apps for smartphones or tablets have become ubiquitous. Whether it’s online banking, your favorite sports team, social media or email, we spend more and more time in our daily lives using apps.
The development of an easy-to-use app for our partners is in the early stages, but the changes it represents are all around us.
It’s a time of change at Local 655 and we won’t allow ourselves to fall behind. Not every new development will go off without a hitch. Not every new idea will be perfect. But that won’t deter us from our mission: Bringing your union to you.