Since 2015, Tele-Town Hall® has the distinct pleasure of working closely with SEIU Local 32BJ chapters across the country. We’ve helped 32BJ conduct events on topics ranging from contract negotiations to Q&A’s with elected officials. In 2020, 32BJ partnered with Tele-Town Hall® for their important mission yet – reaching out to members during the coronavirus pandemic. 32BJ’s motto is “We are truly stronger together,” but never was there a more difficult time to stay connected.
32BJ represents workers in the security, maintenance, and food service industries – individuals who comprise the backbone of our economy. Moreover, these individuals work in conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 exposure. Initially, Tele-Town Hall events focused on connecting workers with PPE. As the summer came, conversations shifted to unemployment protection and relief package benefits. In the fall, 32BJ used Tele-Town Hall to inform members on when and where to vote, as well as the candidates that 32BJ supports. Over the course of 2020, we conducted 67 events and deployed over 500,000 phone calls. In 2021, conversations have centered on vaccinations. When are members eligible? Will they be compensated for sick days? How is the union advocating for its members?
Although the topics change, there are two features of 32BJ Tele-Town Hall events that remain the same: polling questions and multilanguage simulcast. When you think of polling questions, you probably envision a multiple choice survey question. Well, that’s not at all how 32BJ utilizes the polling feature. Instead, 32BJ asks questions with one possible response – yes. For example, “Would you like to volunteer? Press 1 for yes.” The beauty of this strategy is that it allows members to self-report. In the post-event data, administrators can see who said “yes” and the contact information of those members is readily available for follow-up.
As for multi-language simulcast, 32BJ conducts concurrent events for different languages at the same time. For a simulcast event, the primary event is conducted in one language while interpreters translate to their respective audiences. In May 2020, 32BJ conducted an event in English with simulcast translations in Spanish, Mandarin, Amharic, French, and Creole – all at the same time. This configuration allowed 32BJ to connect with multiple segments of its membership without alienating any one group. Health issues affect all members, regardless of their spoken language. Simulcast allowed 32BJ to break the language barrier and foster solidarity. We at Tele-Town Hall® are incredibly proud of partnerships with 32BJ chapters across the country.