"My Members Don't Care": Strategic Planning for Effective Union Leadership and Engaging Members

Start:Monday, March 22, 2021 7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (US & Canada) (GMT-05:00)

This is a virtual event

Host Contact Info: dave.coker@pffg.org

Class Description:

Local union leaders, are you frustrated that your members think of you as the union?

Angry that members don't actively engage on a regular basis or with calls to action?

Tired of dealing with the crisis of the day?

It's time for change.

If you're ready, join us on March 22 at 7pm for a virtual webinar, you’ll never view your union work in the same way.

“My Members Don’t Care”: Strategic Planning for Effective Union Leadership and Engaging Members

What do your members want? What do they value?

What are the values, priorities, and mission of your Local union?

Do your members know their Local's values, priorities, and mission and do these things match their needs?  

Our discussion will focus on how to touch your members to see their values and goals.

Learn how to use that information to develop a strategic plan that: builds your mission, creates effective internal communications, effectively prioritizes tasks, and engages, energizes, and activates union members.

Union leaders, stewards, and member-activists are all welcome!


Dave Coker bleeds union. For over two decades he has been an organizer, teacher, and motivator.

Dave was raised in a working-class family in the mountains of Western, NC. The experience of seeing his family struggle to get ahead had a profound impact on him and from a young age he became committed to the fight for economic justice for working families. As a young man, his Grandfather, a lifelong IAFF member, offered him some advice when he got his first union job at the phone company, "Join the union and always put back a little money from each paycheck in case you have to go on strike. You don't want to be a guy that crosses a picket line."

As a lineman, Dave joined CWA Local 3607. There he served as a shop steward, where his passion for his brothers and sisters was visible. Standing out to union leaders, he was tapped to conduct organizing work for the Local, state, and 3rd District of the CWA.

In 2005, he left the phone company for a career in the fire service where he joined IAFF Local 947 in Greensboro, NC. At the time, the union had very low density and a largely inactive membership, with little voice in the workplace. Dave, and a crop of young union activists, developed a plan to increase union membership, engage with members, and build power on the job. Fifteen years later, Local 947 has over 90% density, clear objectives on member needs, a list of accomplishments, and a strong voice with the employer, all without collective bargaining.

Dave has extensive experience in organizing and member engagement in right-to-work and non-collective bargaining environments. He currently serves as president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Greensboro, IAFF Local 947- the largest IAFF Local of active firefighters in North Carolina. He is also the lead organizer on the IAFF's Southern Strategic Initiative. The Initiative has increased membership in IAFF Locals across the south by over 30% since 2016. As an instructor for the IAFF, Dave has presented classes all over the US and in two Canadian provinces. He has also presented classes at Andy Fredericks Training Days and the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute. Dave still rides the fire truck and is Captain of Engine Co #7 in the Greensboro Fire Department. He resides in Engine 7’s first-due with his wife of 15 years, Meredith.

Ticket Info:

We are committed to accessibility and social justice, so we're happy to provide a sliding scale pricing model for tickets. Please be thoughtful when selecting a price for you. Scholarships are available for those unable to pay the fee. To request a scholarship, please email kenzieknew@gmail.com

"My Members Don't Care": Strategic Planning for Effective Union Leadership and Engaging Members is a presentation by Dave Coker, with 100% proceeds being dedicated to support and advance the mission of the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum and support their Blair 100 project this Fall.

About the Museum:

In the town of Matewan, the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum is located at the site of a historic battle in the summer of 1920 during a miners’ strike, setting in motion a chain of events that led to one of the largest armed uprising in US history, the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain.

The Mine Wars is an important chapter in the history of the struggles of working people in West Virginia, in Appalachia, everywhere, for rights and for their lives with dignity.

For decades, the stories of the Mine Wars were left out of history books but shared around kitchen tables of miners and their families. The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum is dedicated to preserving this history through the voices of people who lived through these times of sacrifice, violence, and triumph. This museum is the result of years of work by historians, archaeologists, storytellers and artists, Mine Wars descendants, and labor activists--many of them mine workers, their families, and residents of coalfield communities.

Proudly offering the largest exhibition of Mine Wars history anywhere in the United States, the museum invites visitors to experience this history with compelling exhibits of rare archival photos and videos, first-person accounts, rare artifacts and replicas, and timelines placing the events of the Mine Wars era in a global context.

To learn more about the Museum's work, pleasevisit our website.