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Dont be put off or put down. Start from your own experience. Never forget that you and your co-workers know more about your public services than anyone else and your front-line experience is critically important.

Like any important task bargaining, health and safety, anti-racism youll probably need a committee. Speak to your local president or rep about people they think might want to participate and make sure you have a committee thats representative of your membership. Posters are a good idea for getting people involved, but nothing beats just asking people. Most people feel good when theyre asked because it shows you think highly of them.

There doesnt have to be an immediate issue to start a communications committee. In fact, its better to communicate with members before theres an issue because good communications builds a strong local.

When starting your committee, ask each person what they want to see happen. Exchanging opinions allows members to focus on shared ideas about what needs to be done. Your goals can be as simple as increasing attendance at your meetings or encouraging discussion about a major bargaining issue.

The best time to start a communications plan is well before a crisis hits. Being proactive rather than reactive puts time on your side. For example, communications planning should be a part of any negotiations strategy, not hurriedly put in place when a strike, layoff or lockout happens.

Keep your plans simple and doable. Start small and be consistent. You can always add to your success.