Joining a Union


Since the Brexit / Trump duopoly of horror, I’ve been thinking about practical things I can do to try and be a better, more active progressive person. Something that seems like a good call is joining a union. I’m not in an industry that has unions though, so where do I start? Do I have to declare it my boss? Is it a daft idea? What other stuff should I be doing, and what are you thinking of doing?


it worked out well for frank sobotka


same, i should really join BECTU


just joined, thanks for the reminder


Yeah I rejoined Unison after Brexit to make myself feel slightly better.

There should be fewer Unions clearly and more people in them. It’s one of the few tools we have left against the establishment.


Nice one!

But what am I meant to do?


You should be able to join these lads

Unions don’t exist just to make the world a better place though. Your money might be better spent elsewhere if that’s your motivation.


dunno m8. are you sure there’s no unions for your industry? start one?


Not sure. I do content marketing / copywriting stuff for a tech start-up. Not sure where that falls.

Start my own? I’m a follower, not a leader. I know my place.


Toying with joining these guys, really think industrial organisation for freelancers is going to become a pretty hot topic soon.


I think on the whole the idea of what unions do seems to align with the things I believe in - more so, than say, joining the Labour party at the moment, though that’s another can of worms.

What other kinds of things do you think are worth doing? Giving money / volunteering for certain charities?


Only you can answer this - not us!


I can’t though! That’s why I’m asking for other’s opinions!


I take it you don’t have any other Union members in your office? If not then it’s possible you wouldn’t get much out of joining a union. Granted, Union’s are stronger when there’s more people in them (obviously!) and if you wanted to help out by throwing an extra fifteen month or so that may help. I’ve been a member of a union since first getting full time employment and I’ve certainly not regretted it, but in both workplaces there have been heavy union presences.

However it depends on what you personally want to help with. If you think the issues Unions come up against are what you’re passionate about then go for that. However a Union isn’t a charity as such, and though we all give a shit about workers rights it might not be the most effective use of your money. That’s just my opinion though, and it certainly frustrates me that there aren’t a lot more people in unions, and that some industries have no union entirely.

If you’re keen on making donations, well, you can’t donate to everything so you’ve got to decide what matters to you personally. I’ve got a monthly donation set up for The Trussel Trust ( to help with food banks, and I’m about to set up two more as well. One for an LGBT charity and another for a Mental Health one, spent the past week weighing up my options on what the options are for each.

Personally I think in the wake of this Brexit/Trump tornado of bullshit we’re living in - helping any charity financially is going to help. That and volunteering to help with charity events for fundraising or otherwise, seem like the most effective options to me at the moment. I’ve been on the left since I became active politically, and I’ve realised that in those years I’ve done nothing to help the world at large. It’s been all talk, and it’s time to change up.


NUJ, shirly.


Haven’t been a journalist for a few years now, and all the happier for it.


yeah, but they cover multiple industries. I work in publishing I’m with NUJ.

The NUJ rules state that "[t]he union shall consist of journalists, including photographers, creative artists working editorially in newspapers, magazines, books, broadcasting, public relations and information, and electronic media; as advertising and fashion photographers, advertising copywriters, editorial computer systems workers…"


Ah, fair play, I didn’t realise that was the case.


Never worth the cost though, are they?
Would cost me about £250 a year to join my union. Fuck that


Cheers for this response, good stuff to think about.