Labour Research November 2009

Union news

Unite launches election tool

General union Unite has kicked off the union movement’s general election campaigning by adopting techniques used by the Obama campaign in the US. An online campaign tool,, allows Unite members to get in touch with each other and with local Labour campaigners in their areas and in key seats.

The website tells members that they can use it to “get involved”, and “join your union’s campaign for a strong Britain”.

The union, the country’s largest, says that the sheer number of Unite members makes them important political players, and that it is vital that they engage with each other.

Unite political director, Charlie Whelan, said that work done by the United Steelworkers (USW) union in the Obama campaign showed “that it is union members talking to union members that delivers change and progress”. The website also aims to help target members who are less sympathetic to Labour. Unite will use data from the site to discover those people’s concerns about Labour through emails, letters, phone calls and door-to-door campaigning.

The technique was used in the US by the Democrats to target USW members who were considering voting Republican.