How to form a union in your workplace

Every day, workers from every trade and industry are forming unions to gain a voice at work. Union members have a say about their pay, benefits, working conditions and how their jobs get done—and having that say gives them a distinct “union advantage.”

If you don’t have a union where you work, you can find out how to form one here. More peopleDSCN3604 are forming unions in their workplaces than ever before, and you can too. There’s an old saying that the longest journey begins with a single step… so here is the first step to get you started on your journey to dignity, respect and a better life for you and your family. For a more detailed description of the union organizing process click here:

Step One: Know Your Rights

“…It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States to…encourage the practice and procedure of collective bargaining and [to] protect…the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self-organization and designation of representatives of their own choosing, for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment or other mutual aid or protection.”—excerpt from the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.

Fnlrb-logo-1024x1015ederal and state laws guarantee your right to form a union in your workplace. Eligible employees have the right to express their views on unions, to talk with their co-workers about their interest in forming a union, to wear union shirts, to attend union meetings and in many other ways to exercise their Constitutional rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association. Employers often tell their employees that talking about unions at work is against the law, but that’s not true. Talking about unionizing during breaks and lunch, and before or after work is protected activity under Federal law.

The National Labor Relations Act provides employees with the following rights:

  • Forming, or attempting to form, a union in your workplace;
  • Joining a union whether the union is recognized by your employer or not;
  • Assisting a union in organizing your fellow employees;
  • Refusing to do any or all of these things.

Federal Law forbids employers from interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of these rights. In spite of these laws, many employers resist their employees’ efforts to unionize. They may threaten to shut down operations and move the work somewhere else just to frighten you. So, before you start talking union where you work, get in touch with one of our Organizers and get the information you need to start in the right direction.

Violations of your rights are chargeable under Federal Law. Examples of employer conduct that violates the law are:

  • Threatening employees with loss of jobs or benefits if they join or vote for a union or engage in protected concerted activity.
  • Threatening to close the plant or ceasing operations if employees select a union to represent them.
  • Questioning employees about their union sympathies or activities in circumstances that tend to interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of their rights under the Act.
  • Promising benefits to employees to discourage their union support.
  • Transferring, laying off, terminating, assigning employees more difficult work tasks, or otherwise punishing employees because they engaged in union or protected concerted activity.
  • Transferring, laying off, terminating, assigning employees more difficult work tasks, or otherwise punishing employees because they filed unfair labor practice charges or participated in an investigation conducted by NLRB.

Step Two: Get in Touch with a District 725 Organizer

Union Organizers are highly trained specialists who assist employees in forming a union in their workplace. The Organizers coordinate the activity of the employees and interface with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Federal Agency that oversees most union representation elections. Before an election can be scheduled, the workers must present the NLRB with a “showing of interest” from a majority of the eligible employees. This “showing of interest” is demonstrated by signing a petition or post card. Employee’s signatures are held in strict confidence by the NLRB and the employer never knows who signed and who didn’t. The NLRB normally schedules an election within 24 days of receiving the “showing of interest”.

Employers often oppose the workers when they want to unionize. They hire anti-union “consultants”, hold “all  hands” anti-union meetings and  send letters to employee’s homes. Employers will take every opportunity to express their opinion about unions, and it’s no surprise that they never have anything positive to say. When workers stand strong and stay focused on the issues that brought them together, they will win their election, and begin the process of negotiating their first collective bargaining agreement.

If you’re ready to make a difference in your workplace, we’re ready to help. Get in touch with our District 725 Organizers — click here to e-mail, text or call us at the telephone numbers listed on our Contact page. All calls to our Organizers are held in strictest confidence. What have you got to lose? Don’t delay– unionize today!