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Union Calling Frequently Asked Questions.

  • How long has Union Calling been around?
    Since 2004.
  • Are you a Union Shop?
    We are a proud union shop and we only work for unions and their allies. All employees are members of ATU Local 113.
  • Can I poll my members using Union Calling?
    Yes. Surveys are Interactive Calls as they require call recipients to press phone keys in response to questions. Several unions have used Union Calling to poll their members on bargaining priorities or other issues. Union Calling is the only service of its type that can do branching surveys. This means that you can ask different questions of different groups. For example, you can ask members at the beginning of the call to indicate their gender, length of service, job classification or other differentiator. Then, if you wish, you can ask each group different questions.
  • Why does the Interactive service cost more than the Direct service?
    The Interactive service is unique to Union Calling and requires more labour and specialized programming. Interactive calls are closely monitored in progress by Union Calling staff and callbacks are separately programmed to include numbers that did not reach a person or an answering device in the initial broadcast. This results in a significantly higher connection rate. The Interactive service also includes a client-specific customized announcement and menu for live answer calls so that your message sounds important right from the beginning.
  • What is the advantage of the Interactive Callback Option?
    The Callback Option is popular with unions that want to ensure a high percentage of members personally hear the message. All phone numbers that pressed 2 are called back at a client-specified time. For example, your first call may go out in the evening, not reaching members who are on the afternoon or night shift. The Callback could happen the following morning or afternoon, reaching those who are at home then. If this coverage is not essential, use the Direct service as connect time for Direct calls costs one-third less than connect time for Interactive calls.
  • What is the Interactive Call service?
    An Interactive Call is one in which the call recipient must press one or more phone keys in response to questions or directions. It is a premium service. Union Calling has developed a unique Interactive Call Notification system that is often used for urgent messages. Here's how it works: When the phone is answered, a mature, engaging female voice announces that an important message is being sent to the union member in the household, actually naming the union, the employer (if requested by the client) and the name of the union leader delivering the message. Example: Hello, I have an important message for the person in your household who works for ABC Industries and is a member of the Union of Industrial Workers Local 86. The message is from the President of the Union , Pat Harris. The listener is then presented with three options: 1.If this is the union member, press 1 to hear the message 2.If the union member is not available now, press 2 and we will call back later. (Callback Option) 3.If this call has been received in error and there is no union member in your household, we apologize. Press 3 and you will not be called back. These opening announcements and menu options are custom recorded by Union Calling.
  • What is the Direct Call service?
    Direct Call is our standard low-cost service. With a Direct Call your message begins playing immediately when the phone is answered live and the person answering says Hello or some such greeting. If the phone is not answered live, the message is delivered to any recording device, if present. At the end of the Direct Call message, the call recipient is given the option of repeating the message from the beginning. This is useful when someone in the household other than the union member (a spouse or child, for example) initially answers the phone and then calls the member to the phone. Mom, it's for you! The repeat option is also useful if the message contains information that was missed upon first listening.
  • What does the Programming and Set Up charge pay for?
    The Programming and Set Up charge pays for several services to ensure a successful callout with the highest possible connection rate. These services include: 1) Scrubbing your phone list to eliminate duplicate numbers, change letter O's to the number 0's, check for correct area codes, etc. 2) Programming the system to ensure your message goes out to your list at precisely the time you specify. 3) Sending edited messages and receiving instructions from the client. 4) Compiling the results of the callout and preparing the summary report. The Programming and Set Up charge is the same for any length phone list because the time involved is essentially the same whether your list is 1,000 numbers or 10,000 numbers.
  • Is there a minimum charge for a callout?
    There is no minimum number of phone numbers you must call and your connection time charges are based on the number of connections made and how long your members listened. For each callout program, however, there is a standard Programming and Set Up charge, plus message editing charges. Please see the Union Calling Price List for these charges. If you do not have one, we will email it to you on request. Or you can call us at 1.866.293.5705.
  • How do we pay? Do we have to set up an account or pay in advance?
    We only serve unions and their allies and we automatically extend them credit. You do not have to set up an account and you do not pay in advance. We invoice you after the callout is complete. The invoice contains a summary report of the callout.
  • Are there long distance charges
    No, you can call anyone in North America for the same price. We often do nation-wide callouts.
  • Are we charged for phone numbers we provide that are out of service?
    No. Unlike other services, Union Calling does not charge for attempts to reach invalid numbers. Moreover, we will provide you a list of those numbers we could not reach to assist you in updating your records. You pay only for successful connection time.
  • How much does all of this cost?
    Please see the current Union Calling Price List. If you do not have one, we will email it to you on request. Or you can call us at 1.866.293.5705 to discuss pricing.
  • Can we also post the message on our website?
    Yes. You will already have the sound file of your message as we have emailed it to you for approval. You should also post the text of your message on your site as well.
  • How much advance notice do you need to do a callout?
    Twenty four hours is good but a minimum of eight hours is the standard. We do, however, understand the union world and that sometimes it is not possible to provide that much notice. In an emergency situation, such as a strike call, it is possible for us to stage a callout within two hours of recording and receiving the phone list. Additional programming and editing charges may apply to emergency calls that happen in the evenings or on weekends because of overtime, off-shift and call-in pay requirements.
  • Are our members’ phone numbers secure?
    Yes. All lists are immediately transferred to a secure encrypted server upon receipt. If you send a disk, it is destroyed after the numbers are transferred to the server. We can keep the phone list for future use if you request we will delete.
  • How do we send you the phone list?
    The easiest and quickest way is to email your list. We only require the phone numbers, no names or other information. You can also courier a disk. The list should be in either Excel or CSV. Contact us if your list is not in either of these formats.
  • How fast are the calls broadcast?
    Very fast. We can send out more than 40,000 one-minute calls per hour.
  • Can you record and send out calls in languages other than English?
    Yes. And we also provide multilingual service that allows the call recipient to choose the language they wish to hear. This is an Interactive service.
  • What if some members do not answer the phone when the call goes out
    Your message will be delivered to any answering device present, either an answering machine or voice mail. Because many such devices cut off a call at two minutes (some at one minute), this is another reason to make your call short. However, Union Calling offers an Answering Machine Option that can deliver a different, shorter version of your message if our system detects that it has reached a machine or voice mail. This allows you to send, for example, a detailed two minute message for those members who answer the phone live and a brief, one minute message to answering devices. It is recommended that you separately record the shorter answering machine message unless you feel that it is only necessary to edit out entire sections of your longer, live answer message.
  • How long can the message be?
    The message can be as long as you like but we recommend you keep it under 60 seconds (150 words), unless circumstances require more information be presented to the members.
  • What are the advantages of having my message edited?
    Knowing your message will be edited removes the pressure to get it perfect in a single take. It results in a much more relaxed and natural-sounding voice message and sounds less like it is being read off a script. It also allows you to try out different tones or emphasis.
  • How do you edit the messages, and why?
    Only Union Calling provides customized digital call editing services. It's the same idea as editing a movie by using different takes. If you stumble on a word, misread your script or want to change emphasis or tone, just repeat the section you want to do over. You can even give directions while recording, such as: "I'm happy with that take" or "I'll do that section again" or whatever. We'll follow your instructions when editing. Otherwise, our experienced editors will select your best takes and seamlessly edit them together in accordance with your script. If there is a problem with your recording we will call you and get you to re-record all or part of your message. Even if your delivery seems perfect to you, we can enhance the quality of the recording in several ways during editing. Our goal is to make you sound your best to your members.
  • What happens after I record a message?
    After you've recorded your message 2-3 times, simply hang up. We'll do the rest. We edit your message and send you the edited message by email so that you hear exactly what your members will hear. If you wish to re-record all or part of the message, no problem. Just call the Recording Line again and re-record. You must approve the message before it is broadcast to your members. Once the message is approved, we program the call to go out at the time you specify to the phone list you provide. We never send out a call until it has been approved.
  • Can I call from anywhere to record my message?
    You can call from anywhere in the world as long as the call is made from a land line. While it is possible to record from a cell phone, the fidelity is greatly diminished. The quality of the recording relies on the phone you call from. Union Calling's editors listen to your recording before editing to ensure quality.
  • How do I record the message?
    Simply call Union Calling's 24-hour Recording Line at: 1.866.377.7213. It's just like recording a voice mail message. You can repeat all or part of your message in the same call until you are satisfied. You can even call back if you want to do it over. See Union Calling Message Recording Tips for advice on how to deliver an engaging, natural-sounding message. Once recorded, a Union Calling editor will listen to the message and call you back if there are any problems with the recording.
  • How does Union Calling work? How do you get our message out to our members?
    You record your message from your phone. We digitally edit it for quality and send you the edited message. You then approve the edited message for broadcast to a phone list you provide. We do all the programming, set up and testing to ensure your call goes out to your members at the time you specify. All we need from you is a recorded message, a phone list and a callout time. For complete details on how to use Union Calling, see our Three Easy Steps Instruction Sheet.