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Signing Cards


The whole point of an organizing campaign is to sign cards. Cards are not just a request for a vote or a show of support, they are a membership card in the union. Every card is confidential and information on the card should be treated as such. The act of signing a membership card in a union is an act of consciousness and courage and can lead to real repercussions for workers in the workplace.

The seriousness of treating cards is a good indicator of the seriousness of the union drive and the organizer.

Some things to remember about card signing:

Go together

  • Always organize in pairs.
  • Diversity of team is essential.
  • Safety is an issue for anyone doing card signing. Especially in door-to-door campaigns or drives involving aggressive employers.

Recording information

  • Write down all relevant information.
  • Do not be sneaky.
  • If they ask, tell them what you are writing down.
  • Ask who they know.
  • Ask what they are hearing.
  • Ask if they would be willing to talk to their fellow workers in the workplace.
  • Record recruits and whether they have cards.

First time, last time

  • Generally we have one chance to sign the card.
  • Meet them anywhere they feel comfortable.
  • Follow natural order of speaking to people.
  • Leave with a signed card.

The Conversation

What makes an organizing conversation different from a chat?

Organizing conversations:

  • Have a purpose.
  • Trying to move a worker on a position.
  • Always have an ask.

A conversation: Steps

  1. Introductions
  2. Agitate on issues.
  3. Provide vision for the workplace. (Results, not theory.)
  4. The Ask.
  5. Inoculation.

A conversation: Things to remember

There are many strategies to get a signed card. Everyone has their own style, but there are some things that are common to every conversation:

  • Listen, do not lecture.
  • Keep eye contact, be polite.
  • Ask questions to keep the conversation going.
  • Stick to their interests, not ideology.

A conversation: Main issues

The main themes, in order of importance, to touch on in a conversation:

  1. Fairness, accountability, process, rules.
  2. Democracy in the workplace.
  3. Health and Safety.
  4. The union is support.
  5. A Collective Agreement is a legally binding contract agreed to by both sides.

A conversation: Answering “no”

  • No or maybe: Always ask why?
  • Objections: do not waste time.
  • No answer: continue, but try to get an answer.
  • Do not devalue their objection.
  • Always steer back to their issues.


Activity 1: Everyone can be an organizer

Remember: Everyone can be an organizer.

  • Every other person turn to your left and introduce yourself to that person.

Tell them why you are a unionist, why you are passionate about fighting for workers' rights and what event sealed it for you.

Ask them if they have any issue that might be solved by working together.

Activity 2: Role Play Two organizers in a lunch room.