A new website created by union advocates and backed by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO will make it easier for workers across the United States to join — or to rejoin — their union.
Currently, many labor unions and trade associations rely solely on paper-based signup forms when growing or enlisting members, slowing union growth and limiting access for workers. The developers of UnionSignUp.com, Jeff Hall and Alex Markle, have engineered a tool that enables unions to independently generate their own online membership forms with a few mouse clicks.
“UnionSignUp.com makes the last and most important step in organizing easier by empowering workers to sign up for their union anytime, anywhere,” said Hall. “By providing this technology to unions, our hope is to strengthen their efforts to recruit and retain members by bringing the union card into the digital age.”
The project was backed through a grant issued by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and supported by members of the Boston-based progressive communications firm 617MediaGroup. All affiliates of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO will receive free access to the site through January 1, 2020. The technology arrives at a key juncture for the labor movement as unions brace for a ruling in the Janus vs. AFSCME Supreme Court case that could cynically force millions of workers to re-enroll in their unions.
Labor advocates including the developers of UnionSignUp.com see the case as a cynical and unconstitutional ploy aimed at taking advantage of the Republican-stacked court in an effort to undermine the basic freedoms of workers. Anti-union groups have called the Janus case an effort to “defund and defang” labor unions.
“We backed the creation of UnionSignUp.com to ensure workers across our state and the country would be able to join or rejoin their union as easily as signing up for an email or social media account,” said Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman. “Public support for unions is growing in the United States and we need to meet that demand with innovative tools that make it easier for workers, especially young workers, to have a voice at work through a union.”
UnionSignUp.com enables union administrators and organizers to generate a custom hyperlink, a database of newly enrolled members, and print-ready digital union cards that have legal standing as traditional union cards.
Wealthy special interests, backed by the Trump administration which filed a brief supporting the Janus vs. AFSCME case, along with a growing network of lobby groups and think tanks funded by the extremist billionaires, are fighting to erode the legal rights of workers by waging a series of coordinated attacks on the labor movement. These interests are aiming to undermine the ability of workers to organize and negotiate for a better life.
The creators of UnionSignUp.com believe that when working people have the freedom to speak up together through collective bargaining, they create power in numbers to secure better lives for themselves and their families while strengthening our economy and local communities.