Keith Kelleher


[Excerpt] Every few months our office receives some piece of direct mail concerning a conference or seminar on union organizing put on by some professional salesperson. The piece extolls the virtues of professional sales techniques for "selling the union" to prospective union members. We throw these advertisements away. Nothing could be more foreign to ACORN's way of doing things.

The idea that a union organizer's job is to "sell" his or her union is totally alien to our model for labor organizing, a model which was developed out of ACORN's years of experience with successful community organizing. When we organize a company, the organizer's job is to be a catalyst or contact person, to listen to peoples' perceptions of what they would like to see improved where they work and to help them realize these aspirations through self-organization and action.

ACORN — the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — formed the United Labor Unions (ULU) in 1978 with the purpose of organizing low-wage workers in industries and regions that traditional unions were not organizing.