How to Form a Union in Your Workplace
Step One: Deciding to Form a Union:If you want to form a union in your workplace, you should make sure at least half of the employees at your job would favor joining a union. If possible, form a small group of employees who are committed to the idea of forming a union. Next, you must figure out what union to approach, if any. Remember, you do not need to affiliate with any union. You can form your own independent union that is protected, like major international unions, under labor law.
Step Two: Talk to Unions:If you decide to affiliate with a major union, start talking to as many unions as possible. Find out what they can do for you and your fellow employees, how the union organizes, what the benefits are, etc. To find a list of unions, you can search the term "labor organizations" online. Do not be deterred by union names, however. Bookstores have been represented by the Longshoremen and office workers have been organized by the United Auto Workers.
Step Three: Establish the Bargaining Unit: After selecting a union, you need to establish the "bargaining unit." (In other words, who at your job can be in union and who cannot.) You should include employees who have similar job tasks, interests and wages. Once the bargaining unit has been decided, people will begin to sign union cards. These cards, often in the form of a petition, state that the individual signing the card wants to be represented by a union. Make sure both the signature and date are written on the cards.
Step Four: Sign Union Cards: When at least 30% of workers in the bargaining unit sign the cards or petition, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) considers this percentage enough to warrant an election. However, make sure you get as many signatures as possible before sending the union cards to the National Labor Board. A majority "yes" vote is needed to win the election, so make sure at least 60% of workers in the bargaining unit sign the cards before submitting them to the NLRB. Lastly, send management a certified letter stating that you want your union to be recognized.
Step Five: The Election: Most employers will reject the idea of a union without an election, so the NLRB will schedule a date to vote. The election is supervised by an NLRB agent and is won by a simple majority. If the majority votes "yes," the company will begin to negotiate wages, benefits and working conditions with the union. If the majority votes "no," you must wait 12 months before trying to form a union again.
A coalition of labor unions, Change to Win aims to create a movement that meets the challenges of today’s economy and restores American ideals. Find out how you, your family and fellow workers can live out the “American Dream.”