Analysis: Why Unions Are Late-Comers to Digital Organizing

An experienced organizer, Sipp advises unions to dedicate the staff time and money to making sure data is accurate and supporting organizing (including political) efforts using existing social media and new technology platforms.

Over the past decade, the importance of digital organizing has soared in electoral and issue based campaigns on the left. The idea that an electoral field organizer need not be a capable database user is patently ridiculous at this point. Political campaigns understand that they need to invest in staff with expertise in digital organizing—whether those are people who can write e-mail subject lines that will be opened by hundreds of thousands of people, data managers who can refine an entire state’s voter rolls to target the handful that can swing an election, or people who know how to create content to be shared on social media, that may go viral. Capable campaign managers do not see field and digital organizing as competing interests, but complementary ones that help campaigns move forward most effectively.

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Kati Sipp is the Future of Work Campaigns director for the National Guestworkers Alliance. She is also the editor of the blog “Hack the Union,” which focuses on the intersections of work, organizing, and technology.

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