While it can be valuable to attend our monthly general-body meetings, holding shop meetings (meetings of union members at your work site or within your program) should be a much higher priority. Shop meetings are how you and your coworkers can make time to talk about important issues at your work site, socialize outside of company “mandatory fun” events, build solidarity, and engage in collective problem-solving.
Although less-formal meetings can work for some folks, an important factor that will get people attending more than just the first shop meeting is ensuring meetings give attendees a sense of accomplishment. Structure, even in meetings of just a few people, when it may seem totally unnecessary, can help make that happen. Plus, it can make sure that a small core of organizers and union activists already have an accessible, predictable meeting system in place for when the meeting sizes begin to grow.
Our parent union (AFSCME) has put together a helpful guide on how to chair union meetings. You don’t have to run your meetings this way, but we hope it can be a useful starting point.