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This short & informative electronic newsletter is filled with tips for building an effective Union and is published monthly by Janet Stewart.

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Innovative unions:

What Makes a
Successful Union?

...and how to thrive in the new economy


The characteristics of successful unions are coming into sharp focus these days. The unions that will thrive in a dynamic, knowledge-based economy are those that can achieve a high degree of organization “fitness”, which is defined as:


  • High levels of innovation, change and adaptation;
  • Union-wide commitment to change and innovation; and
  • Openness to new organizational models and new ways of creating partnerships with employers.

Taking Action!


Our Unions need to become adaptive - anticipating and triggering change through innovation and new approaches. Unions that have successfully accomplished this understand the key concepts that lead to innovation.




  • Take a leadership approach that is participative, not hierarchical
  • Build leadership capability at all levels of the Union
  • Value better work-life balance
  • Invest in Member skills and training in the context of the collaborative workplace
  • Consider Member & Employer input to be essential to innovation
  • Treat diversity as a source of insight

Research carried out in Ireland has provided evidence that innovation in how work is organized and how people are treated, can lead to improved performance, with positive results for Unions, Members & Employers.


Areas where benefits were gained included:


  • Improved operating efficiency;
  • Improved market performance and customer satisfaction;
  • Enhanced product and process innovation;
  • More effective exploitation of investments in new technologies;
  • Easier management of fast growth; and
  • Enhanced overall capacity to respond to changes in operating conditions.
Ask yourself: What is your Union doing to evolve with the changes in the marketplace?

Download a FREE copy of this article and use it at your next Union meeting!

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