MAPE’s first hybrid Membership Recruitment Planning Retreat a success

Publish Date
members laugh while workin gin small groups on june 10

Nearly 150 member leaders from across the state participated in MAPE’s first-ever Membership Recruitment Planning Retreat on June 10 in Bloomington. The Organizing Council hosted the event and developed break-out sessions on engagement, recruitment and power-building in the workplace. Participants were also given tools to develop customized recruitment plans for their locals.

“We don’t want a cookie-cutter approach – all locals are different. This is hard work and we know there are lots of challenges out there. We’re here today to generate solutions to some of those challenges,” Local 1002’s Sarah Weiss, member of the Organizing Council said. (Sarah is speaking in photo at right.)

Local membership secretaries meet monthly to share ideas, and during a popular session, four of them shared some of their innovative membership recruitment strategies. Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Alexis Stafford said Local 2101 organizes “First Fridays” meetings. “We invite new hires and others who started during COVID-19. We do ice-breakers and updates on what’s going on with MAPE, like contract updates.”

members gather in small groups to brainstorm

Local 2001’s Nicole Sokolofsky said her local does “MAPE events in the park with meals in the evening time.” They’ve held events in Rochester, Winona, Owatonna, Austin, Albert Lea and other areas. She admitted, “It’s hard to reach out to everybody.”

The Health Department’s Sharrilyn Helgertz said she enjoys meeting people and planning social events. “I think of the union as being a source of support and advocacy. People have different skills: perhaps someone with communications skills produces an informal newsletter, someone else keeps a list of who has joined.”

She also acknowledges members’ anniversary dates. “Give them MAPE swag – people are really excited. Someone told me, ‘My supervisor didn’t acknowledge that I’d been here 15 years but you did.’ It’s a big deal.”

Tyson speaking with others from 401

Local 401’s Tyson Marlette, speaking in photo at left, said they’ve developed a strong membership committee at the Department of Revenue. “We developed materials that members and non-members alike would find valuable like how to read a pay-grade chart. In our new environment, we are trying to do New Employee Orientations in-person when they go in and get their badges and computers. We’d like to do it before lunch and then take them to lunch afterward because we’ve budgeted for it,” Marlette said.

Members also participated in a variety of sessions including How to lead a New Employee Orientation, How to have a membership conversation, Answering tough questions, Virtual engagement, Hosting membership events and Data collection and sharing options.

Local 802 members brainstorming together

Local 802 comprises the retirement agencies Minnesota Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA), Minnesota State Retirement System and Minnesota Teachers Retirement Association. While working on his local’s membership plan, Local 802 President Jerry Schmitt (pictured on the right in photo at right) said, “We need to start a membership committee and spread the work out. We need a couple of people from each agency. It’s important to reach new employees within the first three days. I liked the idea about the ‘First Fridays’ meetings for new employees.”     

Teresa St. Aoro (pictured at left in the photo above) works for PERA and recently joined MAPE. The Local 802 member said she also learned from others at the planning retreat. “They bring up things you’d never thought about. It’s good to hear what other people’s challenges are. The best way to learn is member-to-member,” St. Aoro added.