Tips on How to Conduct a Petition Drive at Your Local

Share This

Contact your relevant school or college facilities office (see * below) and reserve a table or an area for petitioning. . . 

  • during the hours during the day when the most people are there, 
  • in a place with lots of foot-traffic, 
  • from Monday, January 4 (at the earliest) through Friday, January 29.

Contact PTSA and/or representatives from student government or student clubs, and ask them if they want to be help gather signatures.

Identify someone from your local union to be in contact with AFT Washington staff about your petition drive. 

Recruit one or two member activists to help plan a collective action for Tuesday, Feb. 2. This action can be anything –- a 15-minute moment of silence in some central spot, everyone wears the same color or a union button that day, a short rally during lunch time, etc. AFT Washington staff are happy to help with ideas and planning for this. 

Recruit at least 11 volunteer activists to staff a petition-gathering site for one hour shifts, during the reserved time slot(s). 

Explain the petition drive to the volunteers and train them, briefly, on how to gather signatures most successfully.

Gathering signatures is an ACTIVE process; merely sitting or standing passively while people walk by is not effective compared to greeting people with a smile and a quick explanatory introduction: 

  • Sample Language: “Good Morning! We’re sending a petition to the state legislature to stop the cuts to education. The more signatures, the more powerful our message will be. [Present petition on a hard surface with a pen]. It just takes a minute to sign!” 
  • Keep at least two petitions “going” at all times, so that while one is being signed, you can be gathering more signatures with the other(s). 

We can legally gather these petition signatures at our centers, schools, colleges and universities as long as those doing the gathering are doing so: 

  • During their off-duty hours. 
  • Not from students who are currently in their classes or being supervised in work study situations. 
  • In a manner that will not interfere with normal operations of the district. 

Gather, deliver, and maintain supplies at the petition table (such as blank petitions, pens, at least two clipboards (see ** below), some sort of union identification sign(s), tape, budget leaflets). AFT Washington staff can help provide you with these.

Pick up the completed petitions and other supplies after the last shift and mail or otherwise deliver the completed petitions to AFT Washington, 604 Oakesdale  Avenue SW, Suite 103, Renton, WA 98057.

*AFT Washington has researched this issue with legal counsel, and we have been assured that this activity is legal within certain easy guidelines (noted above). If you experience resistance from your administration, please contact AFT Washington staff: (206) 432-8085.

**a cheap, easy substitute for clipboards is to find cardboard boxes and cut them into 2 ft by 3 ft sections. Then, using either rubber bands or paper clips, you can place the petitions on the “clip/cardboard” to make it easier to work with them.

If you need assistance or have questions, please contact Bob Downing, Union Organizing Representative, at (206) 457-5967 or