In its most comprehensive redesign ever, the Union Label and Service Trades Department, AFL-CIO, has built a new “Do Buy” database of union-made products and services.
“We set out to clean up and update our database of products currently housed on our website,” explains ULSTD President Rich Kline. “As we worked on the update, it became clear that we had an opportunity to create something more special, more user friendly, and information-packed than we have ever had before.”
The database not only contains union-made products and services, it also links to information about each of the national and international unions, houses collective bargaining agreements, and as it continues to evolve, will hold information about each of the local unions that make the union-made products.
The project, which has taken more than a year to put together, was built by the Department’s union communications firm, Kenefick Communications. Kenefick employees are members of the Columbia Typographical Union 101-12.
This new iteration of the Department’s database is a relational database that links information throughout each listing. When a product is linked to a union, the union, or unions, linked show other products made by that union. As well, it shows the associated collective bargaining agreements negotiated by the union and information on union leadership. As the database becomes more granular, information about the local unions representing the workers will also be added.
Multi-informational Relational Database
“A relational database is a collection of data items with pre-defined relationships between them. We took the information the Department had sourced over the years and began linking records to additional information,” explained Kenefick Communications Principal Tara Landis who primarily worked on the project. “Over the years, the Department has sourced information about union-made products from various places including a multi-year university research project conducted over a decade ago. It was past time the information was updated. As we delved into the data, we found that in some cases the researchers had used local numbers but hadn’t identified the actual union that made the products. That was just one of the issues we had to sort out in this rebuild,” Ms. Landis explained. “We are still working on confirming the unions for certain products.”
The database is available on the Department’s website at unionlabel.org and union members are encouraged to add their employers’ union-made products and services using the provided form. As well, the Department will be communicating directly with its affiliated unions to set up access for each union to add or edit their associated product listings.
“The mission of the ULSTD is to promote buying union-made products and services. This database will make it easier to find union-made products and services, learn more about the unions that make them, and, we hope, become a clearing house of information for anyone looking for information about unions,” said Kline. “This project doesn’t end with the launch of the database; it will be ever-evolving, growing to include more products and information including current and past CBAs that can be used to help union negotiators as they prepare to bargain new contracts.”
If you have a union-made product or service you would like to add, please complete the form on the Union Label website at unionlabel.org. ■
How to Use the New Database:
In the example shown, we searched for “school supplies.” Our results returned several different union-made school supply options. We then clicked on the “Mead Spiral Notebooks” result. Within that result we can see that the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial & Service Workers International Union (USW) represent workers at the Mead Spiral Notebooks plant. We then clicked on the CWA link and can see information about CWA, including other products its members make. Within the CWA record, we can see its union leadership. If you click on the various leadership, you can see more information about that individual.
Also shown under the union information, are any collective bargaining agreements we have on file associated with that union. ■