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  buy phenergan 25mg tablets “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!

Anti-Union Tactics

Union Busting has become a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States over the last thirty years. Knowledge is power, and this video is offered in order to help prepare you for the psychological warfare that most employers wage against their workers during a typical union election.

The following video features Martin Levitt, a former Management Consultant — Also Known As a “Union Buster”. In this video, Mr. Levitt briefly explains some of the tactics he used to defeat workers during a unionizing drive.



Typical Company Anti-Union Tools:

Companies have access to a wide variety of anti-union material from many sources, but the message is always the same. The typical anti-union campaign has a timeline of activities where you can expect confusion, coercion and intimidation to keep workers from unionizing. They tell lies and spread misinformation about the IAM every step of the way to try and convince workers that forming a union is a bad idea. Typically employers say thing like: “We will close down and move elsewhere if the union gets in here” or “We will go out of business if the union negotiates wage and benefit levels we can’t afford”. All this rhetoric is designed to make workers have second thoughts, while the Union Busters charge outrageous fees that could have gone to the workers. It is amazing the lengths employers will go to keep their workplace “union free”. Union Busters go to the edge or break the law just to test the resolve of the workers, and rarely do employers follow through on their implied threats to curtail operations. Know your rights, take notes and keep copies of company propaganda and implied threats. Good documentation is very helpful should the IAM need to file Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges against the employer for unlawful activity. It is not necessary to respond to the employer’s anti-union rhetoric — staying positive and staying focused is the best course of action workers can take when forming a union. If you have any issues or concerns you need addressed, feel free to call or email one of our organizing staff members.

Typical Company Tactics (based on a six week election cycle*):

* The NLRB election cycle was shortened dramatically in 2015. Employers now compress this six week anti-union campaign into two weeks.

Week 1 – Get Supervisors involved

Companies will usually start introducing the company’s position on unions. Keeping companies “union free” is big business in America. Books, videos, seminars and consultants all aid employers in their attempts to convince you that staying “union free” is in your best interest.

“Union Busters”

The “Union Avoidance” industry, a term heavily used by employers, employs more than 10,000 lawyers and consultants. They are usually called in the moment a company hears that employees are interested in unionizing.

Week 2 – Job Security

For the first week of the campaign, management has prepared its front line troops, the supervisors. Preparation is over and the ground work is laid. Management is ready to begin its all-out assault. By this time you have probably received at least one handbill/love letter from the company.

Focus on the second week shifts to the first of several issues that you will be hammered with over the coming weeks. Job security is usually one of the first issues given, playing on the potential fear created through the idea of economic insecurity.

Week 3 – Collective Bargaining

The general goal this week is to convince you that you will receive less under a union contract than you already have. You may begin to hear things like “you start from zero when negotiating a contract and you may end up with less than you have already”. Or they may say you’ll start from a “scratch”.

Department of labor statistics show that unionized workers have better wages, better benefits and better working conditions than non-union workers.

Week 4 – Direct Assault on the IAM

What is more intimidating than direct assaults to your personal security? During the campaign management will try to create an atmosphere under which you and your co-workers become fearful of the union. Attempts will be made to make you believe that vandalism and intimidation are what the union is about. These attempts are usually carried out using two themes: Vandalism of personal property and threats and intimidation of your co-workers.

Week 5 – Strikes

One of the most effective tools in a union buster’s arsenal is fear of strikes. Managers and supervisors are advised to hammer this issue as often as possible in order to conjure images of personal insecurity but economic insecurity as well.

Let’s unravel the myth of strikes. Although the company would love for you to believe that you can be “called out on strike”, the Machinists Union requires that 2/3 majority vote of the membership in order to strike. During the past 10 years, IAM negotiators won fair agreement without loss of a minutes work in over 99% of our contracts. In fact, more people in the U.S. miss work due to the common cold than because of strikes!

Week 6 – The “Final Push” and the “Sympathy Plea”

Now it is the last week of the campaign. This is the employer’s last chance to convince you that a union would not be in your best interest. Time is running out and for the employer, and desperate times require desperate measures. During the week your employer will review each of the topics already discussed. Letters mailed to your home or all hands meetings will occur almost every day of the week of the election. The CEO will often make a personal appearance, even if it means traveling great distances, in order to make a teary-eyed plea for a “second chance”. The CEO will say they didn’t know how bad things had become, and they will promise to fix everything if the workers will vote “NO” on election day. Nothing could be further from the truth! The company has no intentions of fixing anything — it’s all smoke and mirrors designed to take advantage of their employee’s good nature for their own greedy self interests.

In spite of these ruthless tactics, workers win union representation elections every day in our country. How do they do it? By staying informed and sticking together. Fear is a very powerful emotion, and that’s why the employer will use fear as a weapon against the workers during a union election. But fear cannot prevail when the workers are educated. The only legal way for workers to affect change in the workplace is through unionizing and collective bargaining. Don’t let fear and complacency stop you from enjoying a higher standard of living. Contact us today. Together we can make your workplace a better place to work.

Unionizing 101

A Step-by-Step Guide to Forming a Union in your Workplace

The IAM has a long and proud history of helping workers make their workplaces better by unionizing. We’re ready to lend our expertise in negotiating your first Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and provide you with all the resources at our disposal. Unionizing a worksite isn’t easy — it requires commitment, education and persistence. We are always up for the challenge, and we will support you every step of the way, but your time, energy and your participation are the most important ingredients of success.

Step 1- Contact. We are always willing to meet with employees who want to better their lives and livelihoods. We actively reach out to workers in key industrial sectors where we have an established presence and a proven record of negotiating wage and benefit improvements. You can contact us by clicking this link.

Step 2Committee Building. From the very beginning we ask workers to help build support in the workplace. Their job is to keep their coworkers informed throughout the process, share information and answer questions.

Step 3Showing of Interest. When there is sufficient interest in forming a union, the next step is to make contact with each and every employee. We use a variety of methods to gauge your support throughout the unionizing campaign, but it begins with your signature on a post card or petition. Signing the card or petition shows that you are ready to unionize. Your right to sign a card or petition is protected by Federal Law.

Step 4File Petition with Labor Board. When a majority of your coworkers sign the post card or petition, we will file for election with the proper government agency. Depending on the unit, the election may be handled by different agencies. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is the agency responsible for handling elections for Private Sector and Service Contract Act employees.

Step 5Define the Unit and Schedule Election Date. The NLRB will determine if a “hearing” is needed to define the eligible voters in the unit, and they will establish the election date. The Company often disagrees with the Union regarding the group of eligible voters, and will try to stall the process as much as possible and give them more time to erode support. Companies will often run an anti-union campaign to frighten the workers into voting against the Union. IAM Organizers working with the leaders in your workplace will help guide you through the process, and will provide information every step of the way to combat the employer’s fear campaign. Federal Law protects your right to a fair election free of harassment and intimidation. The election will be conducted and supervised by the NLRB.

Step 6 – Election. The Labor Board conducts the election in your workplace. It’s a secret-ballot election controlled by a Labor Board Agent. You will be given time to go vote during working hours. Neither the company nor the Union will know how you voted until the ballots are counted. The Labor Board Agent counts the ballots and files the official Tally Sheet for the election. A simple majority decides the outcome of the election. The election results are certified within 10 days.

Step 7 – Negotiations. Once the Labor Board certifies that you won your election, we will begin to prepare for negotiations. The first step in negotiating a contract is surveying the employees to identify their issues and priorities. Next, the workers will elect a negotiating committee, who will work alongside our highly trained Representatives and meet with the Company to negotiate an agreement.

Step 8 – Ratification. Once a “Tentative Agreement” is reached, you and your co-workers will vote on whether to accept or reject the contract. If the employees believe the proposed contract is deficient, you may have to strike to ensure your success. It takes two votes under the IAM Constitution to authorize a strike, so there will be two votes taken at the ratification meeting. We take labor disputes very seriously. Ninety-eight percent (98%) of all IAM contracts are negotiated without a strike.

Service Contracts

DSCN0760Organizing Service Contract Act (SCA) workers is a priority for the IAM. Service Contracts are a rapidly growing segment of the private sector workforce with hundreds of thousands of employees working for minimum wages and benefits. These employees deserve better pay, benefits, job security and respect, and the IAM can deliver. Service contracts employee a wide range of professions and skill sets. The IAM represents Aircraft Mechanics, Electronics Technicians, Custodians, Computer Operators, Heavy Equipment Mechanics, Fuel Truck Drivers and many other occupations on bases throughout the country. We represent the workers who provide logistical support and fueling for the VIP Fleet at Andrews Air Force Base, including Air Force One. Our members work on Military Installations, Federal Buildings, Veterans Hospitals, National Forests and Parks, and FAA facilities just to name a few. We represent more SCA employees than any other union in North America.

What’s the secret to our success? The Service Contract Act provides that employees must be paid not less than the wages and fringe benefits for their Area Wage Determination (AWD) set by the Department of Labor. But the key is this — Section 4(c) of the SCA allows for the wages, benefits and working conditions to be set by union bargaining. This means that union-bargained wages and benefits replace the AWD. Furthermore, any would-be employer has to honor the new wage and benefit rates when they bid on the government contract, and, they must abide by the contract if they win the award.

So make the smart choice! Join our thousands of SCA members currently working for companies like URS/AECOM, CSRA, L3 Vertex, PKL Services, Cubic, PAE, DS2, DRG, DynCorp, M7, Sikorsky, Chugach, Fidelity Technologies, SSI, Pulau, LB&B Associates and many more. Click the “Contact Us” button and get in touch today!

Service Contract Act Q & A

Why Join a Union?

In today’s uncertain political and economic climate, workers need the protection and peace of mind that only a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) can provide. As the “Profit Before People” motives of corporations become stronger and stronger, many good and loyal workers are suffering and opportunities are diminishing. The only viable remedy is for working people to join together as a Union and bargain for fair pay and working conditions.

DSCN2548The IAM has a long history of representing workers employed by Federal Government contractors. With over 40,000 members employed in the Service Contract Act sector, our collective bargaining agreements are second to none, and our members enjoy the highest wage and benefit levels in the industry. Whether you work for a large corporation like Lockheed or a small start-up aerospace contractor, throughout our history we have been able to work with employers to improve the lives and livelihoods of our members.

However, when employers fail to act in faith to resolve issues with the IAM or if they failed to live up to negotiated wages, benefits or working conditions we are ready to take action to remedy the situation through our negotiated grievance procedure and if necessary, we will take the employer to task with the federal government.


Q: What is the Service Contract Act?

A: The McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act of 1965, as amended, provides labor standards for certain persons employed by Federal Contractors to furnish services to Federal agencies. Most civilian contractors working on military bases or in federal facilities are covered under the Service Contract Act.

Q: How are wages determined under the Service Contract Act?

A: For UNREPRESENTED employees, Minimum Wage Rates are determined by the US Department of Labor by doing periodic wage surveys in the locality in which the Service Contract employees work. Then, they issue a document which is called the “Wage Determination.” For REPRESENTED employees who engage in collective bargaining, the wages and benefits negotiated as a result of “arms length negotiations” replace the Wage Determination and serve as the minimum prevailing wage for that particular service contract.

Q: How are fringe benefits determined under the Service Contract Act?

A: For UNREPRESENTED employees, the same wage determination lists minimum fringe benefits. The Dept. of Labor has established a rate of $4.27 per hour. But, for REPRESENTED employees, fringe benefits negotiated as a result of “arms length negotiations” become the minimum fringe benefits for that particular Service Contract.

Q: What happens when a new Service Contractor takes over the Service Contract on which I am working?

A: Under the Service Contract Act, a new Service Contractor is not required to hire any of the existing Service Contract employees. For UNREPRESENTED employees, the new Service Contractor who has won the bid away from the current Service Contractor, only has the obligation to pay the minimum rates established by the Department of Labor’s wage determination. And, they can work with less people, for less hours, lower classifications! Remember, the service contract was awarded to the lowest bidder. For REPRESENTED employees, section 4C of the Service Contract Act, provides that no contractor who succeeds a previous Contractor, will pay any service employee under such contract less than the wages and fringe benefits (including accrued wages and fringe benefits) provided for in the collective bargaining agreement. Normally, when a service contract is being re-bid, the competing Contractors will contact the Union representative and attempt to reach an agreement on the conversion and indicate so in their bid insuring that labor peace prevails. With a skilled workforce like yours, virtually all Contractors will agree to honor the terms and conditions of the collective bargaining agreement.

Q: Will my employer suffer a loss in profits if they pay more than the Department of Labor’s wage determinated rates in my Collective Bargaining Agreement?

A: When your employer pays UNREPRESENTED employees wages and benefits which are higher than provided for in the Department of Labor’s wage determination, those increases will affect profits. However, wages and benefits negotiated for REPRESENTED employees are passed through to the customer, usually the federal government, once a year: normally this is effective October 1st of each year, but it can vary for different branches of the military. 

Q: Well, isn’t this gouging the Government?

A: NO! There are two reasons why; first if the negotiated wages and benefits are at valiance the USAF can challenge. The second reason is Government believes ‘Collective bargaining at arms length’ is the very best way to determine wages and benefits. The Government has confidence that private sector contractors and their employees who engage in collective bargaining will reach the very best rate. That’s why the Service Contract Act recognizes and honors rates and benefits negotiated at ‘arms length’ through collective bargaining. The U.S. Government knows that the Service Contract Act has saved billions of dollars for tax payers and still delivers quality services to the customer.

Q: How can I get good strong Machinists Union Representation?

A: The first step in gaining Machinists union representation is to contact us today and speak with an organizer about the particulars of your situation. Working together we can help you achieve collectively what you have not been able to achieve alone. Working together, we can make your workplace a better place to work.

Your rights under the law

Employee Rights:

Private Sector Employees are covered by the National Labor Relations Act and are afforded certain rights to join together to improve their wages and working conditions by unionizing and collective bargaining. Employees have the right to attempt to form a union where none currently exists. This activity is protected by Federal Law. Examples of employee rights include:billofrights

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.

Violations of your Rights:

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.

The best way to secure your rights is to secure the rights of others. In unity, there is strength. Working together as a union, we can achieve what the individual workers at your company have been unable to achieve. Working together as a union, we can make your workplace better. To get involved or get more information, call, text or email us. Working together, we can achieve collectively what you have been unable to achieve alone.

Join Us!

Unions help working men and women make it to the middle class. It’s not a coincidence that when union membership declined in California, so did living wage jobs. That’s why organizing is a top priority in the IAM. Organizing brings the benefits of union membership to  more working families. Organizing benefits current members too, because more union members means greater clout at the bargaining table and in our legislative halls. Union membership benefits the communities where we live, because employers must compete with union shops to attract and retain good workers. All boats rise with a rising tide.

If you work in a non-union shop, statistics show that you earn less DSCN7143money and have fewer  benefits than you would if you worked in a Union Shop. That’s because unions provide a balance of powebetween employers and their employees. Union members make more money because they negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment at the bargaining table. Non-union employees must bargain one-on-one with their employers. There’s strength in numbers, and it’s plain to see who employers are more inclined to listen to. Without a union, you are at the mercy of your employer to decide your wages, benefits and working conditions. How much further ahead you would be now if you were covered by a union contract last year?

The IAM is an advocacy organization created and governed by its membership to pressure government, business and community leaders to support issues important to working families. Representing our members means more than facing down employers at the bargaining table. We can’t succeed at the bargaining table without the collective strength of a strong and engaged membership. 

You and your family members and your friends deserve job security, safe working conditions, overtime pay, medical benefits and defined pension plans. The only way to achieve these things is through collective bargaining. Your District 725 Organizers can help. Contact us today!

“At Will” Employee?

Are you one of the 60 million workers subject to “Employment at Will”?

Imagine that you’re injured in a work related accident and you need a few days to recover. You file for Worker’s Compensation benefits and figure that when you’re back in shape you can return to work. The next thing you know you’re fired! What do you do? You hire a lawyer, believing that in America an employer should not be able to fire you for exercising your legal right to file a Worker’s Compensation claim. As the court issues its decision, you are in disbelief. The court rules that you have no legal standing and cannot sue for the employer’s retaliatory firing.

You don’t have to imagine such a story. In August of 1997, the above story was a reality for a Pennsylvania man. The Pennsylvania Superior court ruled that because the man was an at-will employee and was not covered by a contract (such as a union contract), the “employer may terminate an employee at any time or any reason or for no reason”.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, two million “at will” employees are fired every year. Of those two million workers, an estimated 200,000 are fired for no reason. How can that be? Hard working, on-time, conscientious employees fired for no apparent reason?

If you think you are exempt from the whims of your company or boss, think again. Most Americans don’t realize that unless you work for the government or belong to a union, under the laws of nearly all the states you are considered an “at-will-employee” and it is perfectly legal for your employer to fire you for no reason at all! Check your Employee Handbook… you’re sure to find your “at will” employment status clearly explained in the first few pages!

The California Supreme Court recently ruled in Dore vs. Arnold Worldwide, Inc., 06 C.D.O.S. 7078 (August 3, 2006) that employment “at will” means that employment is considered indefinite and voluntary for both employer and employee, and that either party may end the employment relationship at any time. An employee is free to quit for any or even no reason at all. And an employer may fire or layoff for any or no reason at all. Dore sued his employer for unlawful termination, but the court found that he had signed a company document that stated his employment was “at will” and could be terminated at any time.

Because this ruling is precedent setting, it affects employers all across the nation.

Of course there are exceptions. You may not be fired on the basis of race, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability or for trying to organize a union in your workplace. In addition, some states provide moderate protections such as wrongful termination due to whistle-blowing, but those protections are growing fewer by the day.

The only sure way to protect yourself is to join a union and negotiate the terms and conditions of your employment in a collective bargaining agreement.

To find out more about how you can protect yourself, contact us Today!