Get the facts!
Q How does the union work?
A A union
is a democratic organization of a majority of the employees in a facility. The basic idea of a union is that by joining together
with fellow employees to form a union, workers have a greater ability to improve conditions at the worksite. In other words,
"in unity there is strength."
Q What will be in our contract?
It is for the union employees to decide what to negotiate for. Your co-workers are already talking about many
issues that are important to them at union meetings. After you win union recognition, you will select a negotiating committee
from among your co-workers. Then, with the assistance of union negotiators, the committee will sit down with management to
negotiate a contract.
The law says that both sides must bargain "in good faith"
to reach an agreement on wages, benefits, and working conditions. The contract will only take effect after it is approved
(ratified) by a majority of the workers.
It is not possible to know exactly what will be in the first contract.
Our goal will be to win improvements with each contract.
Q Who runs the
A The union is a democratic organization run by the members.
Members elect the local officers. You vote on many issues of importance to you. You vote on your contract. Union members elect
delegates to national conventions, where delegates elect national officers and vote on major issues affecting the union such
as constitutional amendments. The union is the people themselves.
it cost the company a lot money if the union comes in?
A In the short
run, it's true that unions cost employers more in terms of wages and benefits. But in the long run, that doesn't necessarily
hurt the employer. Many unions are good for the employers as well as for the workers.
The reason is simple. With
a union there is higher morale, and there is a mechanism for workers to have a voice in how the workplace operates.
Satisfied employees are more productive, and less likely to quit, so there is less turnover. Also, management
benefits when it gets input from the workers on how the operation could be run better.
Can I be fired for participating in the campaign?
of all, the law prohibits any employer from discriminating against people in any way because of their union activity. If an
employer does harass or discriminate against a union supporter, the union files a charge with the Labour Board, and prosecutes
the employer to the fullest extent.
The best safeguard against the employer harassing anyone is for everybody to
stick together and win their union. Without a union, management has a free hand to treat people as they please. But with a
union, everyone has the protection of a union contract.
Q What can the
union do about favoritism?
A Fairness is the most important part
of the union contract. The same rules apply to everyone. If any worker feels that he or she is not being treated fairly, then
he or she, of course, still has the opportunity to complain to the supervisor, just like before. But under a union contract,
the supervisor or manager no longer has the final say. They are no longer judge and jury. If the worker is not satisfied with
the response of the supervisor, the worker can file a grievance.
The first step of a grievance procedure is for
the steward to accompany the worker to try to work it out with the supervisor. If the worker is not satisfied, the steward
and the employee, with help from the Union Business Manager, can bring the grievance to higher management. If the complaint
is not resolved, then the issue can be placed before an outside neutral judge called an arbitrator.
Q Management is hinting that we could lose the benefits we now have. Is that true?
A The purpose of forming a union is to win improvements in wages and benefits, not
to lose them. We start with what we have and go up. On average, unionized workers earn a third more than non-union workers
in wages and benefits. Occasionally in organized facilities workers agree to grant concessions to aid an ailing company, but
this comes after years of winning improvements.
The employees vote on whether or not to accept a contract. Would
you vote to accept a contract that took away your benefits? Think about it. If having a union meant that the employer could
reduce your benefits, why would the employer be fighting the union so hard?
Besides, it is against the law for
the employer to retaliate against the union by taking away wages or benefits.
Q What about all those meetings we're
having where management talks about the union being bad and corrupt?
employer would like you to think that unions are corrupt. The truth is that unions are decent, honest organizations dedicated
to improving the lives of working people.
Nothing is perfect, and there have been examples of union officials who
have not been honest. But the same is true of government officials and business leaders. There are a few bad apples in any
group of people.
Telling you not to vote for a union because there have been some corrupt
officials is like telling you never to work for a company because a company official has been corrupt.
Q The employer says the union can't guarantee us anything. Can you?
A The union can guarantee this: that when workers stick together as a union they have more bargaining
power and more of a voice than they do as individuals.
When the union wins, you will negotiate a contract with
the employer. We can make no promises on what the contract will contain. That is for you to decide when you vote on your contract.
We can guarantee that the contract will be legally binding, and the union will make sure the contract is enforced.
Q Management says the union is just after our dues money. Why should we pay money
to the union?
A Dues are used to run your union and keep it strong.
The dues are divided between the local union and the national union. The money is used to provide expert services to your
local union, including negotiators, lawyers, economists, and educators; to pay the salaries of officers and staff, including
organizers; to provide newsletters and conferences. The local union's money is used for reimbursing stewards for lost
time, for the union hall, and for other expenses of your union.
Did you know that the employer also pays dues to
organizations? Employers have their own ''unions" - such as the Chamber of Commerce or the National Association
of Manufacturers. They pay for representation-why shouldn't you?
Besides, since when is the company so concerned
about your money?
Q How much are Union Dues?
A The dues will depend upon what the local needs to operate efficiently and effectively. However, the dues will be
set by you, as a local union, with the exception of the International portion of the dues, which is set and voted by all Local
Unions at the International Convention every five (5) years. However, no dues are paid until the majority of workers vote
to accept a contract they helped to negotiate. All initiation fees will be waived for members in newly organized units.
Q Management has
hinted there will be a strike if we organize.
A Management talks
a lot about strikes during an organizing drive. Did they tell you that over 98% of union contracts are settled without a strike?
There could only be a strike if the employees vote for the strike. And it's only smart to vote for a strike if you know
you can win. The employer doesn't want a strike any more than the workers do, so everyone has an incentive to reach a
compromise during bargaining.
Unions have developed a lot of other tactics that can put pressure on management
to reach a fair agreement. For example, unions use boycotts or corporate campaigns or community support, rather than necessarily
having to resort to striking.
Q How do we go about getting a union here?
A We've already taken the important first steps in forming a union. We've formed a
voluntary organizing committee of which many of you are members. This committee was formed to investigate and to inform
of the ways that a union may help us. We've held meetings to inform other employees as to what their rights are
now and the rights they gain by forming a union.
Now it's all up to us to vote Union and to ask others to vote
for their future by VOTING UNION .
Q What does signing the card mean?
It means you want the union. The card is a commitment of support. And, it gives us the legal support
for an open and free union election.