FAQ

1. CAN ANYONE JOIN A UNION?

You have the legal right under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act to join or support a union and to:

  • Attend meetings to discuss joining a union.
  • Read, distribute, and discuss union literature (as long as you do this in non-work areas during non-work times, such as during breaks, lunch hours, before or after work commences, or any other non-work times)
  • Wear union buttons, T-shirts, stickers, hats, or other items on the job.
  • Sign a card asking your employer to recognize and bargain with the union.
  • Sign petitions or file grievances related to wages, hours, working conditions and other job issues
  • Ask other employees to support the union, to sign union cards or petitions, or to file grievances.

2. WHAT WILL MY EMPLOYER SAY ABOUT JOINING A UNION?

Your boss will say a lot of things when you're trying to form or join a union including:

  • "Lets talk privately."
  • "You can trust me."
  • "I'm telling you for your own good."
  • "We're just one big happy family."
  • "Give us another chance."
  • "My door is always open."

EMPLOYERS WILL say almost anything to keep you from joining or forming a union.  And with good reason: if you have a union YOU have a voice in the decisions that affect you, your job, and your family.

Your employer will try to tell you that unions cause everything from bad weather to economic destruction.

But the truth is that labor unions are a vital part of any democracy and that union membership is as American as apple pie, the only way many working people can exercise any control.

3. CAN'T MY EMPLOYER FIRE ME OR LAY ME OFF FOR JOINING A UNION?

Under Section 8 of the National Labor Relations Act, your employer cannot legally punish or discriminate against any worker because of union activity.  For example, your employer cannot legally do the following:

  • Threaten to or actually fire, lay off, discipline, harass, transfer or reassign employees because they support the union.
  • Favor employees who don't support the union over those who do in promotions, job assignments, wages, hours, enforcement of rules, or any other working condition.
  • Shut down the work site or take away any benefits or privileges employees already enjoy in order to discourage union activity.
  • Promise employees a pay increase, promotion, benefit, or special favor if they oppose the union.

4. WHO RUNS THE UNIONS?

Your employer will try to convince you that "the union" is some group of outsiders, trying to come in and "disturb the family atmosphere" and dictate what goes on in the workplace.  The truth is that you and your co-workers are the union-you elect your own officers and decide what you want your union to do by a democratic process.

Can you imagine your employer taking a vote on anything?
5. WHAT ABOUT UNION DUES?
Most likely, your employer will try to persuade you not to go union by telling tall tales about the union dues you'll be required to pay.  It takes money to run any organization.  The company doesn't want you to pay union dues because they know that with your own organization you can have better wages and benefits and an equal voice on the job.  Many union members refer to dues as "job insurance".

6. THE TRUTH ABOUT CONTRACTS

Your employer will tell you "the union can't guarantee you anything" and that you may well lose wages and benefits with the union.  The truth is that with a union, you have a right to negotiate a contract that is legal and binding and indeed does guarantee you the wages and benefits you deserve.

And the proof is indisputable-unionized workers in our country enjoy superior benefits and wages 20-30% higher than non-unionized workers.

7. AND WHAT ABOUT STRIKES?

Probably the scariest thing you'll hear about unions is that they are always going out on strike and that you may be forced to go on strike.  The truth is that 99% of all union contracts are settled without any sort of work stoppage at all.  And you and your co-workers, because you control your union, are the only ones who can vote to strike or not to strike.

8. SO WHAT CAN A UNION REALLY DO?

The job of your union is to negotiate on your behalf for better wages and benefits through a legal and binding contract, then to enforce that contract and to represent you when you encounter day-to-day problems with your employer.  By joining together in a union, you and your co-workers have the collective strength to make sure you get decent contracts and fair treatment on the job.

Unions are built on the ideals that have made our country great......including the right to stand up and speak out to improve our lives and gain a rightful share of the American dream.

If you have any other questions or if you feel you need a union and want to know more, give us a call. We’ll provide you with helpful information, in strict confidence.