Unions are the best way to gain representation at the workplace because your right to join a union and organize fellow workers to form a union is protected by the laws of the United States of America (National Labor Relations Act).
How do Unions organize workers? Any successful organizing campaign must come from the rank and file. Here is the way a typical organizing campaign may happen:
- A worker or group of workers contacts the Union to ask what the Union can do to help them organize. Usually, the Union is picked because a friend or relative of some of the workers knows someone who is a member of that Union.
- The Union's organizing staff makes contact with the workers and forms an organizing committee, ideally consisting of at least one worker from each shift.
- Organizers, working with the committee, begin an intense organizing campaign. During this campaign, which can include home visits, phone banking and mailings, organizers attempt to reach all workers and inform them of their right to organize and to sign union representation cards.
- During this time, management may or may not become aware of the Union activity. It is against the law for management to retaliate against any worker for engaging in union activity or who chooses to join a union.
- Once at least 30% of cards have been signed, the Union may file for an election with the Department of Labor. Or, if at least 60% of cards have been signed, the Union may request that the company recognize the Union and bypass the election process, to which the company may or may not agree.
- Once the Department of Labor sets an election date, organizing activity intensifies. On the day of the election, a representative from the Labor Board oversees the election, which is by secret ballot.
- If a majority of workers vote YES for Union representation, then the Employer must agree to negotiate in good faith with the Union, as the collective bargaining representative of the workers, all terms and conditions of employment.
Remember: There's strength in numbers. The Union's strength and your strength on the job come from workers sticking together and fighting for their rights.