Unionism is expanding and people are seeing the benefits of having a union, especially highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This even holds true in the south.
IBEW Local 613 Business Manager Kenny Mullins discussed how his Local has expanded to its current 5,500 member size through organizing, registered apprenticeship and more on America’s Work Force Union Podcast.
Expanding union market share
Mullins said Local 613 is dedicated to recruiting and organizing. Since the state is considered So-Called “Right to Work,” Local 613 has to educate tradesmen and tradeswomen about the benefits of a union.
Local 613 has also grown market share by turning over and organizing entire shops. Since 2016, Local 613 has added 24 new affiliated contractors. Many of these contractors specialize in a certain type of electrical work, allowing Local 613 to boast a list of affiliated contractors who can do just about anything.
They have also done well in attracting younger members, as Mullins mentioned roughly 50 percent of their membership is under 30 years old.
Georgia runoff election
Mullins said the Local 613 membership was heavily involved in the election of the two Democratic Senators in Georgia.
Members operated phone banks, where the members volunteered hours of their time. Local 613 felt they needed to do their part in turning Georgia blue, as it is a So-Called “Right to Work” state.
Expanding Local 613 apprenticeship program
Mullins said apprenticeship is one of the best ways to prepare for a career. The earn while you learn model entices apprentices to show up to work every day and ensure they are also paying attention in the classroom.
He added that Local 613 is always looking for new apprentices. It does not matter if they have little to no training, the apprenticeship program can get tradesmen and tradeswomen to where they need to be.
Finally, Mullins said one of the keys to recruiting is hitting the high schools. Showing high school students how much money and benefits they can earn in just a few years typically inspires a few to consider joining.