Locals honored for hard work and relationship building


There’s no secret to good organizing: It entails meeting with people, having conversations, and putting in time and effort.

The Organizing Advisory Committees at Hennepin Healthcare (HCMC) and Hennepin County did such a good job this past year, they won the Jerry Wurf Organizing Award at the Annual Convention. The Committees include HCMC Locals 2474 and 977; and Hennepin County Locals 34, 552, 1719, 2822, 2864 and 2938 (legal unit).

“Organizing non-union workers takes a lot of good, hard work and conversations one-on-one,” says Local 2474 president Sara Franck. “It doesn’t fall into your lap.”

“You have to build relationships with people all over the hospital,” says Carmen Brown, president of Local 977 at HCMC.

But the hard work is worth it. HCMC added workers in multiple job titles including nuclear medicine techs, polysomnographic techs, childbirth educators, opticians and in grant administration. Hennepin County added workers in titles including specialists in community health or property management.

 “It makes us stronger with the employer to have more people,” Franck says. “Union folks have better increases and better benefits. If you’re non-union, you’re at will. They can do whatever they want with you; if they don’t want to give you a raise this year, they don’t have to.”

Local leaders, activists, members and staff worked collaboratively to find ways to grow together. They developed new relationships, and Locals learned how to better support each other. Members talked to non-union members, and reached outside their own comfort zones to talk to workers they didn’t know.

Person by person, relationship by relationship, these organizers are helping build our union.