Thank you for being a member of North Dakota United, the state’s largest and most prominent union of educators and public employees. Together, we all work incredibly hard to give our state’s students and their families the very best education and public services possible.

Members of our union are the most powerful recruiters for more of your colleagues to join us in North Dakota United. Remember that ND United is not a faceless entity, corporation or out-of-state policy group: IT’S YOU! NDU is 11,500 educators, public employees, retired workers and students of education, united as one for the good of us all.

In this special edition of United Voices, our union’s official publication, we wanted to provide all of you with guidance on how you can effectively talk to your colleagues, whether they’re just starting their careers or they’re many years into the profession, about the benefits of joining North Dakota United.

Here are some tips for how you can get the most out of this guide:

> Don’t read this guide verbatim. The most compelling way to get your colleagues to join is through a one-on-one conversation where you are engaging and listening authentically.

> Ask questions about the person and don’t be afraid to share a bit about yourself. Building a personal connection is the best way to recruit new members.

> Emphasize personal experience and local wins that your local association has delivered.

Listening Dos

> Listen 80% of the time and talk 20% of the time.

> Ask follow-up questions using “how,” “what” or “why.”

> Practice empathy. If someone is sharing something in their work environment that upsets them, acknowledge and respect their experiences.

> Give your recruit time to think about and answer your questions.

> Localize the conversation by talking about specific issues in your community and district.

Listening Don’ts

> Don’t ask questions that are statements. For example, don’t ask questions like: “Don’t you think smaller class sizes would be better?”

> Don’t answer a question if you don’t know the answer. It’s ok to tell your recruit that you don’t know and will get back to them.

> Don’t make union benefits the focal point of your conversation. Your conversations should be focused on the needs and concerns of the person you are recruiting.

> Don’t overwhelm the person you are recruiting by listing all the issues that could be facing educators.


Common Questions & Concerns

I’d like to join but the fees are too high.

Joining North Dakota United adds your voice to thousands of members just like us across the state and millions of educators across the country to accomplish things one educator, one bus driver, one janitor, or even one district can’t. When we negotiate as part of our local union, we can make significant changes, like increasing salaries and reducing class sizes — things that improve our daily lives.

Unions are too political.

That’s exactly why we meet regularly with lawmakers from both parties to increase support for public education and services. There are some issues, like higher salaries and winning funding so that our schools and government agencies can hire more staff to reduce class sizes and case loads, and avoid understaffing, that require a strong collective voice to bring about the change we need in our classrooms. Our goal is not to advance a partisan agenda, but to make sure that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle give our members the tools we need so we can give students and the communities we serve our best.

I’m not sure what my colleagues or my community would think about my involvement in a union.

First, you should know you have a legally protected right to join without retaliation. But beyond that, it’s important to know you aren’t alone. Your local association is a community of local educators and public employees, just like us, who improve our daily lives so we can give our students and the communities we live in our best efforts. More than 11,500 members have joined statewide because we work hand-in-hand with our administrators and lawmakers to give everyone a stronger voice at the table.

Unions don’t look out for students.

We became educators because we care about providing the best education possible and setting our students up for success. When educators are respected, appreciated, heard, and have the resources we need, we can give students our very best. With more members like you, we’ll have a stronger collective voice that can deliver a future where educators live better lives, and our students get the best education possible.