Organising with 2020 Vision: Case Studies of New Approaches to Union Growth and Capacity Building

Resource Library


During 2020 Australian unions have shared many of their projects which have been presented in the
Innovations Series – a series of weekly webinars with the objective to “challenge our thinking and
build our toolkit for union growth in a connected age”.

As well as collaboration between unions, these case studies reflect the importance of cross-organisational
collaboration within teams. The work of organisers and organising craft is evident, and indeed central,
in these case-studies. Many examples demonstrate what is possible when we bring organisers and
organising expertise into the digital world.

These innovations were not focused exclusively on digital and technology, however. Other examples trialled new
methods to connect with and organise migrant workers to fight exploitation and wage theft, and also
to introduce young people to the union movement.

There are no silver bullets and there are no shortcuts. Nothing will avoid the hard work of organising.
But as this volume of case studies shows, there are certainly new ways of organising that can be scaled
up to help unions build capacities in new areas that accommodate the rapid changes of recent years.


Introduction 1

Part one: Organising with a new toolkit – new methods and strategies to build and to grow 3

Hospo Voice – getting active on Slack 4

Online tools to organise in the CFMEU Manufacturing Division – examples from two sites with limited access 6

Timber pulp and paper processing in Tumut 8

SDA National Digital Organising Project – adaption and expansion during COVID 10

Using LinkedIn to organise at the ASU SA NT Branch 13

United Workers Union – adapting to organising in a pandemic 16

ASU NSW/ACT: growing a union branch by applying a model of organising during a pandemic 18

Using peer to peer text in the UWU 21

List building for organising & digital marketing in Professionals Australia 24

Case studies in digital organising at CFMMEU 27

UWU P2P text campaign during bushfire crisis 29

The member lifecycle at Professionals Australia 32

Part two: “Stop filling the leaky bucket” – a focus on member retention 35

CPSU’s outbound call unit 36

AWU’s retention call centre 37

Member benefits team at the Services Union, Queensland 39

How the ASU is retaining members by engaging them in new ways 41

Member onboarding at Professionals Australia 45

Part three: Organising the unorganised: how new strategies, tactics and membership models are reaching important groups of workers 48

Alternative membership strategies: a new union for musicians 49

Fighting exploitation and wage theft among migrant workers: Unions NSW’s experience with Visa Assist 52

Organising students and graduates with Young Professionals Australia 54

NSWNMA’s conversion of students to full members 56

Unions ACT – Summer Patrol 58

Offshore Alliance 60

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Case study highlight video from the launch of Organising with 2020 Vision at the 2020 Virtual Organising Conference on 19 November, 2020.


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