Campaign Template 5 – Taking Action

Consider This…

One of the main objectives in any campaign is to involve the members. Therefore we should choose actions that offer as many opportunities for participation as possible.

Certain actions can also directly empower and develop members’ skills, such as public speaking, dealing with the media, and even just getting the chance to communicate their concerns with co-workers. It is an extremely valuable experience for a worker to define an issue and then work out how to resolve it through taking union action.

When members get to participate in union actions they get to see that they are the union. This is why it is important to get as many people as possible involved.


Don’t forget!:Always contact your union official before taking action.



  • Set up communication networks. Decide who will be talking to whom, eg. management, specific workgroups, the media, etc.
  • Circulate petitions. These allow everyone to have a say about the matter directly to management.
  • Use surveys to measure support for actions, find out who is prepared to do what, to get specific data on an issue, and to educate members, the media and the public. There are lots of uses for surveys and many types that can be used.
  • Use stickers, badges, posters and flyers to spread your word wide and far. This does not have to be expensive. Big black text on coloured fluro labels makes for a cheap and effective way to get the your message across, as does handing out flyers.
  • Agree on a couple of strategic actions that can be taken over the course of the campaign and some that can be taken on a day put aside to get media coverage.
  • When deciding ‘media day’ actions, think of what would look good on television, what would make a good newspaper photograph and what would be most newsworthy.
  • Industrial action such as withdrawing labour is sometimes an appropriate last resort, particularly where there is a concern for worker safety. But consult your union first.


Case Studies

During the Mid West nurses campaign a range of actions were taken. Surveys were used to find out how many members wanted to become involved in the campaign and what actions they would participate in. Other surveys were used to find out the top OHS issues affecting nurses. Flyers were handed out to the public and the nurses all wore badges sporting the campaign logo ‘Let’s Care For Ourselves Too!’. Petitions were also used and each major town held a campaign launch day to which the media were invited to attend.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union’s campaign involved each bus driver wearing a beanie to work on the same day. Many of the beanies were outrageous and eye catching, so made great photos in the press. They also had a catchy slogan ‘Let them wear their beanies, you bunch of heartless meanies’ which was often repeated in the media.

Download more info: Campaign Template 5 – Taking Action

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