Do’s and Don’ts for Engaging Colleagues and Supporters on a Workplace Issue

DEC 13, 2018 | COWORKER.ORG

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Each week, Coworker.org staff jump on video and phone calls to talk to people about their jobs and answer questions about workplace organizing, media outreach, and more.

Do you have a problem you’re trying to solve at work? We’re here to help! For starters, we wanted to provide some quick tips for engaging coworkers and outsiders (e.g. Coworker.org staff, labor organizers, community groups) on issues related to workplace organizing and collective action.

Pushing for voice and change at work can hold risks. We support workers who want to learn about employment laws and digital security, and we strive equip you with the necessary information to make these decisions.

Below are some tips for engaging your colleagues and outside supporters on an issue at work:

  1. When possible, DO talk to coworkers about your concerns prior to taking action outside the organization. We put together a guide for that, here.
  2. DO use your own personal devices — phones, computers — and your personal wifi or cell phone data connection. DON’T use your employers’ wifi or internet connection to engage colleagues or use work-owned devices. DON’T use your work email address to engage in these conversations — use a personal account.
  3. DON’T use your employers’ internal channels or Slack account to discuss sensitive workplace issues. Here’s why you shouldn’t use Slack in this way. (But you might want to consider using Slack or other internal channels when taking action in your workplace. Here’s one example.)
  4. When possible, DON’T conduct meetings on workplace issues during work hours. DO use break times (e.g. lunch break) to discuss these issues. You can also use your employers’ break rooms as physical meeting spaces, but be aware that you may be under surveillance.
  5. If you’re holding a meeting during a break time at work, and you’d like to include others who are not physically present (e.g. remote workers, Coworker.org staff, community groups, union organizers,), DO use a personal hotspot AND an end-to-end encryption technology. Human Rights Watch created this interactive feature on how encryption technologies can help keep our digital conversations private (and how they can still have vulnerabilities). For voice calls, we recommend Signal. For video calls, some folks like Wire.
  6. If you’re holding a meeting outside of business hours, DON’T use your workplace meeting spaces or work-owned devices. You can find free community spaces at places like public libraries, and follow the same tech tips listed above.

Coworker.org is a global platform to advance change in the workplace. Our technology makes it easy for individuals or groups of employees to launch, join and win campaigns to improve their jobs and workplaces. You can start your own campaign about changes you want to see in your workplace on Coworker.org here — or contact us at info@coworker.org if you would like to discuss a workplace issue with our team.

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