Unions take to the Web

To take advantage of the organizing potential of the Web, unions are investing more energy into developing an online presence.

Union sites often sport flashy graphics and plenty of content, complete with election information, updzates on labor actions, and bargaining reports.

Communications Workers of America President Morton Bahr, who chaired the committee that led to the launch of the AFL-CIO's www.workingfamilies.com, says the various websites maintained by CWA have been extremely important in outreach efforts.

"The fast-growing segment of the workforce in the US are professional, high-tech, and administrative workers," says Mr. Bahr. "In order to inform them about what a union can do for them, you have to speak their language. Their language is the computer and the Internet."

During the Verizon strike in August, CWA posted daily bargaining updates on its website. The site received more than 334,000 unique visitors that month, compared with an average of 12,800 monthly.

And when workers at The Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer went on strike late last year, they began to publish both a print and online version of a strike newspaper, the Seattle Union Record. According to Chuck Taylor, who served as the managing editor of the newspaper, the site received hits ranging from 100,000 to 300,000 per weekday, compared with a print circulation of 40,000.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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