HOW TO START A UNION

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:35 pm
I've been asked this several times now, so how about a thread on it!

HOW TO START A UNION

http://www.unions.org/union-benefits/ar ... union.html

3-30-2009
Basically, you sign a "union card" (a card that indicates that you would like to
form a union at your workplace). If a majority of employees sign such a card, the
cards are given to a government agency (for most workers, that's the NLRB - The
National Labor Relations Board) which then schedules and oversees a secret
ballot election to see if the employees really do want a union. If a majority votes
"Yes" then a union is formed, with which the company must bargain over wages,
benefits and working conditions.

How do I start?

The first step involved is, obviously, your decision to organize. You should also
have some confidence that at least half of the workers at your workplace would be
inclined to join a union. If possible, try to form a small committee of employees
dedicated to the idea, but keep things quiet. (The longer it takes management to
find out about the unionization attempt, the better.) Next, you must decide what
union you wish to approach, if any. (You do not need to affiliate with any union;
it is possible to form your own, independent union if you so wish, and labor law
will protect your independent union just as any large, international union.) Talk
to as many unions as you can, find out what they have to offer, how they organize,
resources, etc. Don't be afraid to approach any union, regardless of their name:
bookstores have been organized by the Longshoremen, office workers by the
United Auto Workers. A good place to get phone numbers for unions is under
"labor organizations" in the yellow pages.

Once you have chosen a union, you need to determine what you want the
"bargaining unit" to be. That is, who at your workplace will be able to be in the
union and who will not. You should include workers that have common duties,
interests and similar pay. Managers and security guards cannot be included.
Once you have decided what you would like the bargaining unit to be, (the
"official" bargaining unit will be determined at a National Labor Relations Board
hearing.) you will most likely begin having people sign union cards. These "cards"
may be actual cards, or simply a petition. The cards or petition will indicate that
the person signing the card would like a union to represent him or her in contract
talks regarding wages, benefits, and working conditions, and are completely
confidential (the employer never sees them). It is important to get a person's
signature and the date on these cards, or they will not be considered valid.
Once 30% of the people in the bargaining unit sign the cards, you are entitled to
submit them to the National Labor Relations Board, which views 30% as asufficient number to warrant an election that, if won, will certify the union in
your workplace. Unofficially, you should get as many signatures as you possibly
can. To win the election, you need a majority to vote "yes" and it is not unusual
for some individuals who signed cards to end up voting "no." A good rule-ofthumb
is that if you can't get at least 60% of the people in the bargaining unit to
sign cards, you won't win the election.

Once you are ready to submit the cards to the NLRB (which entails handing the
cards to an official and filling out a form), you should mail a certified letter to
management indicating that you wish the union to be recognized. This is just a
formality, as management will almost always refuse to recognize a union without
an election. Once you have submitted the cards, the NLRB will contact the
employer to schedule a hearing to determine the actual bargaining unit, and to
schedule the election. At the hearing, the company will most likely try to pack the
bargaining unit with workers that are likely to vote no, and try to challenge
workers that are likely to vote yes. The union's lawyer will most likely handle
things at this stage, so don't worry too much.

Once the bargaining unit is made final, the NLRB will schedule the date of the
election. The election is secret ballot, overseen by an NLRB agent, with the ballot
asking the question, "Do you want the "whatever union" to represent you in
contract talks with "whatever employer?"" or something similar. A "yes" vote is
for the union, a "no" against. A simple majority wins.
If you win: congratulations! The company must enter into contract talks with the
union regarding wages, benefits, and working conditions.

If you lose: you must wait at least one year before trying again.

There are other options, of course: one need not rely on the NLRB process to win
recognition to bargain for a contract. Employees can also try to force an employer
to recognize them as a union through work actions such as strikes. This can be
done even if an election was lost, although if you didn't have the strength to win
the election, you may not have the strength to force recognition. (You can
redefine your bargaining unit to increase your chances. For example, if your unit
included factory workers and office staff, and the office staff voted against you in
sufficient numbers to cause you to lose the election, you might try to get just the
factory workers, where there is more solidarity, recognized.)
"If you ain't on the road, you ain't makin' money!" - gregster

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User avatar
Master Driver
Posts: 6999
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 10:40 pm
Location: Chesapeake, VA
Where do you work?:
Papa John's franchise
User Type:
Pizza Delivery Driver
Car you drive:
2010 Ford Fusion
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:40 pm
More info from Google: How to start a union
"If you ain't on the road, you ain't makin' money!" - gregster

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