Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) you have the right to form a union in your workplace. The NLRA says:

  • Section 7: "Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representation of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining..."
  • Section 7(a): " It shall be an unfair labor practice for an employer...to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in Section 7..."

  Getting Started

    To get a union started, the first thing you need to do is talk to your co-workers.  Do they share the same concerns you have?  Is there a common theme to these concerns such as lack of respect and dignity; lack of a voice in the workplace; unfair treatment; and/or wages benefits lower than other people working in the same industry?

A Typical Organizing Campaign

    The campaign will consist of talking with co-workers about the union, asking them to sign a petition of support.  When there is a strong majority of support (65% of employees have signed the petition of support), the union will file for an election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Usually, the NLRB will then meet with the union and the employer to establish the criteria for employees who will be eligible to vote in the union election.  The NLRB sets a date for secret ballot election.               

 

 What You Can Do

    Under section 7 of the NLRA, you have the legal right to:

  1.    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 or lunch hours).
     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.

Bargaining a Contract

   After the union's election victory is officially certified by the NLRB, your employer is legally required to negotiate in "good faith" with the union in a written contract covering wages hours, and other working conditions. Together we willhelp you form a negotiating committee made up of several of your co-workers.  A survey will be distrbuted to all employees to make a listing of the wages, benefits and conditions of your job now in existence  and those items that you wish to keep, eliminate or improve. A negotiating session will then be arranged between your employer and our committee and upon your approval of all the issues negotiated, a binding written agreement will be drafted.

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