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Worksite Visits 101

NEA’s Guide to Worksite Visits
Worksite visits are great ways to have one-on-one organizing conversations with as many members and potential members as possible. Use this guide to make the most of your time, whether you are making a solo visit or hosting a worksite blitz.
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Before You Go

Why Visit Worksites

Visiting a worksite is an important way to reach educators, whether it is an initial contact or following up from a previous conversation. A worksite blitz is a concentrated time for organizers to work together with a specific district or work site to reach target potential or current members.  

Goals for worksite visits and blitzes can include: 

  • Recruit Potential Members 
  • Engage Current Members 
  • Identify Potential Issues to Organize Around 
  • Identify Potential Activists 
  • Identify Potential Leaders 
  • Update Member and Potential Member Contact Information 

The following guide is designed to help you prepare, whether for your next worksite visit or to train leaders for an upcoming blitz.  

Before You Go


1. Collaborate with Local Leaders & Staff  

Identify which Local Affiliate you want to focus on for your worksite visits and coordinate with local leadership and leaders before conducting a visit. 

  • Secure Commitment from the Local President and Executive Board 
  • Meet with State Staff 
  • Meet with Worksite Leaders 

These leaders can alert us to issues that may arise, intel on the relationships with administrators, and special circumstances to be aware of that may facilitate our success. They can also help confirm building or worksite access.  

Make sure to get the following information: 

  1. How many members work in this worksite? How many potential members? 
  2. How many potential members work in this worksite? 
  3. Who is/are the worksite leader(s)? 
  4. Has this building been mapped? 
  5. Do you have a worksite roster?  
  6. What is the workday schedule? When are members’ lunches and when are their prep periods? 
  7. What issues are we currently addressing in this local or worksite? 
  8. Have members been notified that we are coming to the worksite? 

2. Create a Plan

A draft plan should describe your overarching approach. Aim for a few paragraphs or one page that will give you and your team a high-level understanding of the worksite, a pathway to reaching your goal, and the kind of blitz you’re going to run.  Answer the questions below to ensure you are prepared for your upcoming visit.
Planning Step Questions to Consider
Step 1: Define the Goal What is the goal of the blitz (membership recruitment, leadership ID, issue identification, PAC membership, all of the above)?
Step 2: Assess Needs What are the needs of the local association?
Step 3: Define Targets Who are the primary targets? Secondary targets? (e.g. new hires, potential members with 0-4 years of experience, special ed. assistants, etc.).
Step 4: Logistics Will the conversations occur during the day? Before/after school? Home visits? Will you use Hustle (text) or phone banks? Based on your universe (# of targets), for how many days will you conduct the blitz? What is the best date span for the blitz? Check for date conflicts with the school system and the community.
Step 5: Assess Local Capacity How ready, willing, and supportive is the leadership team? What are the leadership structures like? What are their strengths?
Step 6: Assess Staff Capacity Plan staff accordingly. Do you need to request shared staffing help from other regions? Other states?
Step 7: Need for Member Organizers/Release Time Based on the goal(s), how many member organizers and staff are needed?
Step 8: District/Principal Buy-in Approach Meet/confer with the superintendent and/or principal to explain goals for the blitz and get buy-in from the district. Have an alternative plan if the district is not cooperative.
Step 9: Data Gathering Make a plan to use VAN or NEA360 to house the data during or after the blitz.

Need Data Support?

Building strong lists allows organizers to more effectively and efficiently reach educators and protect public schools. Don't let the process of gathering data intimidate you! We've broken down the basics for you in our guide to building strong organizing lists. If you need further support, contact contact NEA at [email protected]

3. Prepare Participants

In addition to preparing your plan and coordinating with staff, you will want to ensure everyone going with you to the worksite is trained and ready. 
Create Your Training

You will want to host an in-person or virtual training or provide written instruction to help prepare your participants. Here is a sample training agenda:

Overview of local association/community (ideally from Local Association President)  Short briefing on state affiliation and statewide issues  Orientation to the blitz  Goals   Tools to achieve goals and membership recruitment techniques If you are conducting a blitz during the day, create a daily schedule based on planning period/break times. 

Create a Walk List

If you are conducting a blitz before and after school, simply create a list of targets (by school, by section of the school, with knowledge gathered from the worksite leader on informal schedules — who comes in early, who stays late, etc.). 

For larger districts with multiple buildings, it may be helpful to print a Google map with all the building locations, and identify a few local businesses that are good places to regroup between sessions (nearby, with WiFi and room to spread out). 

Prepare Materials for Participants

Make sure to prepare a bag, large envelope, or binder for participants with the following:

  • Names and addresses of schools they are visiting (include principal/lead secretary) 
  • Building maps with room numbers/names 
  • Worksite leader/Executive Board contact information for each school 
  • Conversation tracking sheets and daily reporting forms  
  • Conversation Guide/Script 
  • Brief background on local association: major issues, challenges, successes, etc. 
  • Contact information for lead organizer(s) and local presidents 
  • Membership forms, New Ed cards, commitment cards (volunteer tracking), and brochures about the work and agenda of the local association 
  • Pens/post-it notes to leave “sorry we missed you!” messages for educators OR pre-printed “sorry we missed you!” cards with contact information for organizers 
  • Copies membership recruitment materials 
  • Pens 
  • Clipboards

Don’t forget to:

  • Secure union (or union-funded) release time for local leaders to participate in the blitz or worksite visit.
  • Secure building access and obtain confirmation from district administration, including building principals.
  • Ensure communications are sent to building principals, secretaries, and targeted employees.

At the Worksite

During the Worksite Visit


1. Arrive at a Worksite

We want to be as respectful as possible as we enter the worksite. Use this list to ensure you make the best first impression:

  • Make sure you have parked in a school visitor parking space.  
  • Show ID upon arrival. Sign in with the front desk and introduce yourself to the front office staff. Identify yourself as being with the union.  
  • Consider providing a small gift or thank you note for the front office staff to show appreciation for their assistance. 
  • Ask the front office for an updated worksite roster, schedule of lunch periods and preps, and a building map. 
  • Ask the front office which members are out of school that day. 
  • If appropriate, ask if you can introduce yourself to the principal or administrator. 
  • Ask if and where there is a union bulletin board. Visit the bulletin board to see how recently it has been updated. If it hasn’t been updated in a while, make a note to discuss this with the local president. 

The Best Strategy for Your Schedule

Your strategy for reaching educators will differ depending on when in the day you are planning to visit.
During Members' Prep Time
  • Try to schedule visits in advance of your arrival.  
  • Introduce yourself and let the member know where you will be when you aren’t conducting the scheduled one-on-one conversation. Invite the member to come visit you. 
  • If the member is busy and can’t talk at all, leave a note in the member’s mailbox letting them know you came by to speak with them about the union. Leave your contact information. 
During Lunch Breaks
  • Set yourself up in the location where most targets eat.  
  • Make sure you have a sign-in sheet that collects member and potential member contact information, including cell phone number and personal email address. 
  • Introduce yourself using one-on-one conversation best practices. 

2. Have Impactful One-On-One and Group Conversations

Now we have arrived at the most important part of your worksite visit! These organizing conversations are the cornerstone of our work. 

Conversation Best Practices

  • Get their name, what they do at the school, and ask if they are a member (reference walk list).
  • Share information regarding association priorities as they relate to the Local and the specific worksite.
  • Ask open-ended questions to get the member/potential member’s story.
  • Ask the member/potential member to do something (sign a petition, fill out a postcard, sign a membership form, contribute to the PAC, etc.).
  • Identify potential issues to organize around.
  • Identify whether the member/potential member is an activist, leader, etc.
  • Do not third-party the union: The union is not a separate entity. The members are the union. Our union must be healthy, strong, and ready to win. This happens when members own their union. 

Find talking points and more best practices in our Guide to Transformational Conversations.

Conversation Guide

3. Wrap Up and Say Goodbye

Make sure you end your worksite visit properly! Follow these tips:

  1. Collect all the materials you’ve put out that are not to be left behind.  
  2. Clean up any food you may have brought with you. Remember, the custodial staff are our members, potential members, or another union’s members. We must ensure we aren’t creating additional work for them.  
  3. Stop by the front office and sign out to ensure there is documentation of your departure. 
  4. Thank the front office staff for their assistance. 
  5. Say goodbye to the principal or administrator. If it’s a friendly relationship, thank them for their support for our members. 
  6. Plan your post-worksite visit debrief.

    After the Visit

    After Your Worksite Visit


    The Post-Blitz Debrief

    Ensure you learn from your event and continue the momentum by scheduling time to share follow ups, lessons learned, and tips for the next worksite visit.

    Debrief with Organizers 

    • Determine a time and place, and secure commitments from organizers before the blitz begins 
    • Ask for feedback and suggestions  

    Debrief with the Local

    • Include local UniServ staff and officers  
    • Share results and plan next steps 
    • It is best to block off several days to a week after the blitz for compiling data and follow-up planning with the Local. 

    Remember: Blitzes may be most effective as a jumpstart to a longer campaign. Think about ways to tie this visit into your larger organizing plans.

    Other Considerations

    • Be prepared to shift and change the schedule; you may have more or fewer conversations than anticipated. 
    • Be prepared to consider home visits or other ways of contacting your targets. 
    • Never use the students’ restrooms. ALWAYS ask to use the faculty restroom.  
    • Do not take photos without members’ permission. NEVER take photos of students.  
    • Do not park in a faculty parking space. Often, there is limited parking and we do not want to take parking spaces reserved for our members and potential members.  
    • Do not park in front of the school unless designated for school visitors. 

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