March 2012

An Informed Ironworker Makes a Better Ironworker

Throughout my time as a local union, district council and International officer, I have always believed in the simple truth that the better our members understand the workings of their union, the stronger we become; the more knowledge you have of our industry, the stronger we become; and the more transparency we have with input from our members, the stronger we become.

Today, the technology of the Internet allows every member to stay current on union activities, both local and throughout North America. The marvel of handheld devices capable of accessing videos on YouTube, status updates on Facebook, online content through Twitter, and images on Flickr, is that they provide a virtually limitless access to social media, allowing each member and their union to have input and their voice heard. Our ability to reach out to members, employers, users, and the public, and to provide marketing opportunities to educate and promote the safety, productivity and quality of union ironworkers increases significantly. A successful leverage is provided by the use of press releases to members, industry partners, and news and media organizations, garnering more than 1.17 million reads since its initiation in August 2011.

Our commitments to safety, organizing, and labor-management cooperation via IMPACT from the 42nd Convention collected over 122,000 views, while your rallies in support of good jobs and investments in America’s roads attracted nearly 100,000 visitors. IMPACT’s Management Co-Chair Bill Brown’s response to an op-ed piece on “How to Close the Skills Gap” in the Wall Street Journal circulated to more than 2.1 million readers in print and online.

Over 80 videos are now available at http://www.youtube.com/user/IronworkersIMPACT and have been viewed by over 20,000 people. While we continue to roll out and develop our potential through social media, it is evident the opportunity it creates to promote the use of union ironworkers and their contractors is endless.

Whereas roughly ten percent of our membership attend local union meetings, participation on the Union Ironworkers Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/unionironworkers, increased about 9000 percent during the last six months of 2011. During the past 30 days, our posts have garnered more than 100,000 views.

Our new website, www.ironworkers.org, is growing rapidly to provide members and the public valuable news regarding our union, its mission, programs and news about Zero 2012 safety, projects, manpower demands, and political activism. Daily posts provide the most up-to-date account of issues that can affect your livelihood. While The Ironworker magazine continues to be our foremost tool for member communication, its interaction with the website and social media will expand many of the features our members find most appealing.

And why is all of this important to our union and its future?

Because we cannot afford to remain the best-kept secret. If we do not tell our story, brag on our accomplishments and promote you as the most skilled, best value in the ironworking industry, then who will? Because our unorganized brethren need to know that they have the rights and means to a better life. Because our solidarity depends on an informed and knowledgeable membership. And because it is all about getting more work, more customers and more contractors. It is with your input, ideas, feedback and support that we will meet the challenges of the future. Tell us your story and get active now!

Thank you for helping to build our great union.