UFCW Local 1459 Embarks on New Communication Offensive

 "We need to get our message out to where the members and workers are and more and more that's online," said Rick Brown, the Secretary-Treasurer of the 5,000 member local based in Springfield, MA. Brown has been tasked with overseeing the effort by UFCW Local 1459 President, Daniel Clifford. "We're going to be as aggressive as we can be," said President Clifford. "I'll admit I'm worried this will add to our heavy workloads but the labor movement can no longer afford a bunker mentality."

Brown says their overall strategy will be to send out as many "positive vibes" out there about UFCW 1459 as they can. "We need to be our own cheerleaders because no one else is going to do it for us," said Brown. "These days it’s about promoting your own brand and we need to do our best to learn how to do that." The new communication effort was launched this past Monday.

A large portion of UFCW Local 1459's members are public sector workers, a segment that has come under heavy attack in other states.  And while polls indicate most people support public sector unions, the non-stop drumbeat of anti-union propaganda from the right is undermining the image of unions in the public's eye. "What happened in Wisconsin can eventually happen here in Massachusetts if we don't start going on the offense," Brown said.

UFCW Local 1459 has hired Prometheus Labor Communications to help advise them. The company is owned by Steve Dondley, a former UFCW Local 1459 organizer. Dondley said social media is "no magic bullet, it's going to take a lot of hard work and strategic thinking." But, he added, since communicating is essential to everything a union does, it will be well worth it. "If you're not communicating, you're dying," a reference to his online blog, Communicate or Die [http://communicateordie.com] which he uses to encourage unions to embrace aggressive use of Internet technologies.

[Originally posted on Pioneer Valley Union News]