CAN SOLAR PANELS BOOST UNION MEMBERSHIP?
One way unions attract new members is by offering benefits, especially economic benefits, only to members. The benefit must be attractive by itself, the savings substantial, and the deal limited only to members. But the fourth and most important element of a successful membership benefit is that the union offer it before it is widely available in the market. The Boston Globe carried an interesting story today about how last year the World Wildlife Fund offered its employees deep discounts on solar panels, i.e., 34% cheaper than the average market price. The Globe noted that the panels could reduce the monthly power costs of a family paying $147 per month to $97. Now Cisco Systems, 3M, National Geographic, Honda and others have done the same thing. This seems like an ideal benefit for unions to offer only to members, whether offered through a national deal with one of the solar panel providers or locally via a multi-local arrangement.