July 2016

Organizing News

Volunteer Organizing Committee Member

Ironworkers are joining the union to win fairness, respect and a voice on the job. As a Volunteer Organizing Committee Member (VOC), you can help your fellow ironworkers protect their rights and build a real future for their families.


“The VOC has greatly helped Jacksonville Local 597 in many ways. Our local has been able to recruit nonunion ironworkers, locate jobsites and spread the word about the advantages of joining our local. Our VOC members put out signs and talk to both union and nonunion ironworkers. We are looking forward to increased work that will give us the opportunity to recruit new members with the help and continued support of our VOC.”
— Bill Bradley, FST/BM, Local 597


Volunteer Organizing Committee Members are vital to our union’s organizing efforts.

· When members speak about how the Iron Workers Union makes a difference in their work and personal lives, you are a powerful force for building our union.
· The VOC program trains union members so that they can successfully reach out to coworkers and their communities to join together and stand up for our union and our democratic values.
· Growing our union will make the Iron Workers stronger at the bargaining table and in the ballot box.  It will help us unite for fair pay, benefits and respect.


“Two years ago we found a group of 20 ironworkers who wanted to unionize in El Paso, Texas. After several meetings with members and non-members, the members volunteered to start a 15 member organizing committee (VOC). We then held a COMET class that had over 60 members in attendance. We have signed our first contractor to an agreement and are negotiating with another. Both of these successes were brought to the local by our VOC members! We are moving forward with house visits and organizing efforts.”
— Ron Smitherman, FST/BM, Local 263


“The Atlanta Local 387 VOC is comprised of the officers, active and retired journeymen and apprentices. We are educating our brothers and sisters about the sobering reality of organized labor. The VOC assists our staff and organizer in making contact with unrepresented workers and locating jobsites. Any local that currently has no VOC should consider all that could be gained with the efforts of the membership. We have a great apprenticeship and continue to top out quality ironworkers, but if we do not actively organize it would take 40 years to train the number of ironworkers we need now.”
— Robert A. Duffield, FST/BM, Local 387


VOC’s Inspire, Lead and Encourage through the organizing techniques they learn at Iron Worker trainings and through direct practice in partnership with an experienced organizer.

Has being an Iron Workers Union member made a difference in your life?

· Can you volunteer after work or on weekends?
· Are you outgoing?
· Do you want to stand for justice?


“The VOC, in my view, is a key component of the future of our union. It helps educate Tampa Local 397 membership on the issues facing us today and helps get members involved. This is what every local union needs. I feel that what we do here is to educate everyone who we come in contact with about the assault on organized labor and build public support. We have taken on the challenge to give our members the tools to organize. I am very confident we will achieve our goals.”
— Jack Jarrell, FST/BM, Local 397


Become a VOC Member! For further information, please contact your local union.