query: actions for mobile home residents group?

colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Wed Apr 4 20:40:34 CDT 2001


[ed:  thanks to Paul for the updata and the further queries.]

 From: Paul Gowder <pgowder at yahoo.com>

Hi Everyone,

You may remember me from my previous message talking
about forming a tenants union in a mobile home park. 
Well, the union is formed, it has a core of members
that I'm trying to push toward leadership, the
landlord is breaking out the retaliation stick, but
nothing we can't handle yet -- now we seem to have hit
a plateau.

Meeting attendance is beinging to drop, and while
there have been some positive steps (union pres met w/
owner, got lied to, T's now know promises won't be
kept, some evictions averted, friendly press
coverage), they haven't actually DONE anything. 
Membership development isn't going well, having
trouble getting people together.  Soooo....  we need
an action!  At the last meeting, I talked them into
giving me an action committee to work with, and now
it's time to start actually thinking about what to do.
 This is where help is needed...

I'm trying to get them involved in an action that:
1.  Will motivate members to get more involved (ie
fun)
2.  Will distract them from the beloved lawsuit option
3.  Will involve all members
4.  Will clarify for them the
positions/unfriendliness/lack of concern of manager
and park owner (many residents seem to believe that
the manager, who is extremely stupid and evil, is
preventing information about her abuses from getting
to the owner.  I personally strongly suspect that the
owner doesn't care, though he's looking for a new
manager because of bad pr -- reporter came to one of
our meetings.)
5.  Will aid in recruiting both people who are
interested but never show for meetings, and people who
are
6.  Has a chance of moving toward victory/improving
negotiating positions
7.  Will make good media for local newspaper reporter
who is on our side, and who seems to have an effect on
owner.

I'm thinking a traditional, classic accountability
session w/ manager/owner.  Problems with that (raised
by residents the last time I tried to push that at a
meeting): how do they get owner to come?  Could easily
get one with resident manager, but no decisionmaking
power.	Also sort of afraid of low member turnout.

Have an action committee meeting tonight, hopefully,
if not, tomorrow.  Sigh.  Can NOT get people to make
meetings, because of their work schedules, because
they generally have oppressive employers too.  

Does anyone have any other action ideas/thoughts on
getting owner to come to an accountability
session/other general thoughts or wisdom?  (Can't
bring session to owner easily -- he lives a number of
miles away, many residents don't have reliable
transport.  Though I guess it would be organization
building to have residents with cars transport those
that didn't.  Might also be legal problems --
gathering a large number of people in a residential
neighborhood, probably at night bec. of work
schedules, in small town...

Thank you much, much, much for any
suggestions/thoughts/etc.,

-Paul






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