We discuss in this study the problems of mobilization and effectiveness faced by Kenyan trade unions. In a country with high levels of unemployment and weak labour legislation, it is imperative that the labour movement devise ways of remaining relevant and effective. We combine in-depth interviews with a qualitative assessment of secondary documents on trade unions in Kenya. We do this by looking at topics addressed, characterizations of unions as well as major actors such as union leaders, workers, and political leaders. We argue that labour leaders need to enrich their vocabularies of persuasion in order to neutralize the current discourses around trade unionism in Kenya. Such an approach would enable the union leadership to acquire new repertoires of action to enhance their capacity to mobilize.