Special to LP – As UFCW 367 in Tacoma, WA, was about to reopen negotiations for Hazard Pay for nearly 8,000 essential grocery workers on Jan. 15, it didn’t take long to activate their members. Since mid-November, the union had been piloting the AveNew Activist app to keep members safely engaged and connected as the region experienced another wave of COVID-19 outbreaks.
The day before local negotiations for Hazard Pay began – a nationwide fight that rages on – the union organized a virtual rally with an electronic billboard truck visiting eight stores. They used the app to quietly notify members of socially distant actions and interviews just before the truck arrived to assure that store managers wouldn’t block the truck from entering parking lots.
“The UFCW 367 Activist App allows us to engage our members, keep them updated, and also give them opportunity to share their ideas, opinions, and stories in the palm of their hand,” UFCW 367 President Angel Gonzalez says. “With the Activist, grocery workers can now use their collective voice by taking action through petitions, surveys, or simply sharing their workplace stories all while earning rewards for their actions and together make lasting change for workers and their families,”
The AveNew team has been on the front lines of fighting for justice for more than three decades supporting collective bargaining, leading strategic organizing, contract, and media campaigns, and administering employee benefits. Their collaborations have become increasingly challenged by the widespread adoption of social media channels designed to amplify the loudest – and not necessarily the most trustworthy – voices, and Covid-19 has now all but killed face-to-face interactions. They have now used these experiences to design an app – and a robust ecosystem to make it self-sustaining – to help organizations unleash the power of the membership to become unstoppable.
The U.S. is in an historic crisis and the desire for civic engagement is on the rise. Americans, and the organizations that we rely on to amplify our voices, are eager to impact the future of our young and fragile democracy. For unions and community organizations to become unstoppable in their fight for social justice and worker rights, they need modern tools to educate, engage, organize, and activate their members. At AveNew, we’ve seen the injustices and we couldn’t stand it, which is why we worked with L+R, the developer of the award-winning Global Citizen social activism app, to help.
“Our firm is committed to supporting organizations to improve life with design and technology,” says Alex Levin, founding partner, L+R. “The ambitious vision of AveNew Activist is being brought to fruition by using the power of mobile technology in a cutting edge, yet pragmatic way. The platform has been architected to empower unions and their members by connecting and educating them in real-time. This novel solution represents the future of work, more than the majority of the technological innovations of our time, because it places the people in the center of the solution.”
Barbara Maynard is co-founder and chief visionary officer of AveNew Solutions.