Signing up government workers under an existing federal sector contract is unlike traditional organizing drives, but thanks to face-to-face communication and making sure workers understand the benefits of membership, Federal Local 273 is increasing dues-paying membership at the U.S. Army base at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma.
Federal Local 273 kicked off a drive in August, with the formation of a 15-member committee. Headed by Federal Local 273 President Zelda Cozart and aided by Special Representative Ann Walsh from the IAM Organizing Department, the committee held monthly meetings, planned an organizing strategy and held membership blitzes in different areas of the facility. The local now has approximately 153 members, an increase of about 50 members since the drive began, and hopes to gain a total of 500 members by the time the drive is finished.
A strong track record of assisting local members is helping the organizing effort. The local successfully battled workers’ compensation issues for a number of members and assisted several members grieving inappropriate performance ratings. Federal Local 273 has also successfully won multiple back pay cases. In one, a group of four women received a total of $54,000 when the local grieved their issue.
A wide variety of occupations are eligible for full membership in Federal Local 273, including police officers, firefighters, hospital workers, commissary employees, Job Corps and Department of Reclamation employees.
“Local 273 has accomplished a great deal over the last few months,” said NFFE-IAM Federal District 1 President and DBR Richard N. Brown. “Their hard work and commitment to growing are producing great results. Zelda Cozart and Local 273 have raised the bar, and are an example to all NFFE-IAM locals of how to run a successful organizing campaign.”