What to Expect at UnionCamp

Ideas that Prompted Union Camp


The world of work is changing, fast.

A good job once promised economic security - health insurance, retirement savings, and opportunities for development and advancement. And good jobs weren't that hard to find. Things are a little less predictable now. People need help navigating the new economy - finding jobs, building thier networks, accessing benefits, learning new skills - and there's no one way to do it. Organizations in the business of helping people, firms, or communities prosper are having to reinvent what they do and how they do it. Everything is on the table.


Tools on the internet are changing, fast.

What we really care about is people. Tools are great, but it is the people behind them that are the important part. We want union minded folks to meet with technology people who want to build useful things on the internet and other grassroots activists.


Silos to rivers, fast.

How can unions leverage the burgeoning information flow from silos of protected information to the ability to have our hands in and shaping information that is important to us.

Engagement of how many million(?!)

As organizers and policy makers, we've always done community engagement. But technology provides an open platform that encourages discussion and deliberation (even action), but demands different (and clear) rules and protocols.


The need for face to face does not go away because of the internet.

In fact, one enhances the other, but the internet amplifies our potnential impact by enabling lots of people to connect with lots of people - with or without us.


Changing technology (and changing expectations) in government (and beyond)

Tim O'Reilly coins Web2.0.


Tom Steinberg ([MySociety.org]) on government and technology:

"The most scary thing about the Internet for your government is not pedophiles, terrorists or viruses ... It is the danger of your administration being silently obsoleted by the lightening pace at which the Internet changes expectations." It's not just governments that face this danger - all of us in nonprofits, labor unions, and firms too need to figure out how to participate in our collective reinvention of work, life, and community or we'll be talking to ourselves with the equivalent of soupcans and string.


Three principles for government going forward (Ellen Miller, Sunlight Foundation)

1) Transparency is government's responsibility

2) Public means "online" (by default)

3) Data quality and presentation matter


The Obama administration has been lauded for its use of technology during the campaign, and is learning how to use it to engage and (we hope) govern.

Craig Newmark (Craig's List)

It's not just citizen engagement but civic engagement - it's time for everyone in the country to learn about something and get online.


Economic security — it's more important than ever before to people (workers and those not in work), firms, and communities. In conjunction with RecentChangesCamp, we will spend time with colleagues committed to better work, jobs, entrepreneurship, and opportunities for learning and development, and to exploring the power of new technologies to advance these goals.


Key questions include:

  • Where do wikis, blogs, and unmediated communiications via text or twitter fit into our organizations, our practice of organizing, our campaigns, and our movement overall?
  • How do members and leaders begin to share in the creation of ideas and strategies (and their implementation) across language, geography and technology-access barriers?)
  • How do we invite/include kindred spirits who are not members?

While the need to advance this kind of agenda within labor (business, schools, etc.) has been apparent for some time, President-Elect Obama's campaign and transition work have made the need more apparent, and decidedly more urgent. Fundamentally, the kinds of organizing and communications tools web2.0 has made possible can help us develop the kind of agility we could only imagine a decade ago — but we it won't happen by accident. Like a movement, we've got to build it.


Welcome to UnionCamp!


Sign Up here.

General RecentChangesCamp Invite


How to Engage at UnionCamp

Use the Wiki-way:



  • You are responsible for bringing your issues to the agenda-setting portion of the first morning.
  • Trust in people and the process - we will be using an OpenSpace model of engagement.
  • A committment to exploring the power of new technologies in our collective work.










Come to RecentChangesCamp 2010! (aka RoCoCo)

   June 25–27 in Montréal



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