Running for Union Office: The Essentials

Are you thinking for running for local union office? It’s a big job. Find out the essential elements to every winning campaign.

Since TDU was formed, we’ve been involved with a lot of campaigns and seen a lot of great ideas.

A manual on running for office is available from TDU.A manual on running for office is available from TDU.But if you’re running for local union office, you only have limited time and a limited budget. What do you focus on?

Almost all winning campaigns include most of the following:

  • A strong, pro-reform candidate for principal officer on your slate.
  • Phone numbers and email addresses of members who support you.
  • Campaigning at the gates and in the shops.
  • Quality campaign literature with issues members care about.
  • One mailing (at least) to all members in the local.
  • Enough money to pay for mailings and your campaign.
  • A phone bank to turn out the vote.

Getting Started

If you’re planning to run, now is the time to get started.

Most successful campaigns start one year before the ballots go out. That doesn’t mean getting out the vote for a year. But it does mean starting as early as possible on preparing your campaign.

Is your election this fall? You can still get the job done and win. You’ll need to have a plan and focus on the essentials.

Making a Plan

How do you start planning your campaign?

Start with your goal: winning your election. Then ask yourself what you will need on the day the ballots go out to win:

How many votes do you need to win? How many votes did your opponent get in the last contested election? You should use that as a rough guide for how many votes you’ll need to win.

Who can you ask to help out? Make a list of the members you can ask to help out and a list of key worksites where you need to identify and recruit volunteers.

How many phone numbers and email addresses do you need? A good rule of thumb is you’ll need to get as many phone numbers and emails as votes. That means if you need 1,000 votes to win, you should plan on getting contact info from 1,000 people.

How much money do you need? Make a budget and figure out how much you’ll need for campaign mailings, events, t-shirts, stickers, and more.

This is your campaign. But you don’t have to go it alone.

TDU has published a detailed handbook on Running for Local Union Office that will walk you through every step of the campaign.

TDU is here to help you succeed. Call our office to get started.

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