A union is a group of workers who join together to achieve better wages, better benefits, respect on the job, and a stronger voice in workplace decisions. With the help of a union, workers negotiate a contract with their employer to ensure these things.
Without a union, employers have 100% control over its employees and complete authority to make all decisions. Unions give employees some of this control to make their workplace better. A union’s major goal is to give workers a voice on the job for respect, safety, security, better pay and benefits, and other improvements to working conditions.
It is important for you as an employee to know and understand all your rights as a valuable part of your company. When working to unionize your store, there are certain things your employers cannot, by law, ask you about, threaten you with, or comment on. These regulations have been stipulated by the National Labor Relations Act. Should you become the victim of any of the following, contact a union representative immediately.
29 Things that Your Employer Can Not Do. Any of the acts listed below constitutes a violation of the National Labor Act.
- Attend any union meeting, park across the street from a union meeting or engage in any undercover activity which would indicate that the employees are being kept under surveillance to determine who is and who is not participating in the Union.
- Tell employees that the company will fire or punish employees if they engage in union activity.
- Lay off, discharge or discipline any employee for union activity.
- Grant employees wage increases, special concessions or benefits in order to keep the union out.
- Bar employee-union representatives from soliciting employees' membership on or off company property during non-working hours.
- Ask employees what they think about the union or a union representative.
- Ask employees how they intend to vote in a union election.
- Ask employees about union matters, meetings, etc.
- Threaten employees with reprisal for participating in union activities. For example, threaten to shut down a facility, or close the business, curtail operations or reduce employee's benefits.
- Promise benefits to employees if they reject the union.
- Give financial support or other assistance to a union.
- Announce that the company will not deal with the union.
- Threaten to close, or actually do close or move a business in order to avoid dealing with a union.
- Ask an employee, during the hiring interview, about his or her affiliation with a labor organization or how that individual feels about unions.
- Ask employees whether or not they belong to a union, or have signed a union card for union representation.
- Make anti-union statements or act in a way that might show preference for an anti-union employee.
- Make distinctions between pro-union and anti-union employees when assigning work assignments or overtime.
- Purposely separate pro-union employees and keep them apart from anti-union employees.
- Transfer workers on the basis of union affiliations or activities.
- Fail to grant a scheduled benefit or wage increase because of union activity.
- Deviate or change company policy for the purpose of getting rid of a union supporter.
- Take action that adversely affects an employee's job or rate of pay.
- Threaten a union member through a third party.
- Threaten workers or coerce them in an attempt to influence their vote in a union election.
- Promise employees a reward or benefit if they "vote no".
- Say that unionization will force the company to lay off employees.
- Say that unionization will do away with vacations or other benefits and privileges in effect.
- Start a petition against the union or encourage its circulation.
- Urge employees to try to induce others to oppose the union
|WHAT TO EXPECT
Unions mean more power for workers to bargain for better wages and benefits. For management, however, a union means less power and control. As a result, many employers tend to resort to both subtle and drastic measures to keep workers from speaking out. When workers stick together they can overcome management’s tactics and in the end make a better place to work for everyone.
Many employers respect workers’ rights and basic freedom to choose when it comes to union representation, but sometimes they try to get in the way.
Typical Threats - Some companies that feel threatened by the idea of their workers being represented by a union sometimes resort to various tactics in order to keep you from organizing. These include love tactics and scare tactics that, while opposite in their approach, can both have equally damaging effect for workers trying to get an independent voice at work.
"Give us a chance" - Employers may admit to making mistakes assuring that those mistakes will be remedied, and will never occur again. Management may send out "love letters", which formally apologize for any wrong doings in the past, and make promises for a better future.
Bribes - Your company may implement temporary changes or improvements in reaction to a union organizing campaign. These changes rarely last beyond the campaign because the employer has no reason to uphold them when the threat of a union goes away. Your employer is free to make these changes after your store votes for or against union representation, but it is illegal for the employer to interfere with the campaign.
A Sudden Change in Attitude - The attitude of your employer towards you and your fellow workers might dramatically improve. Management is suddenly very concerned with showing you how much they appreciate and respect you as a member of the company. Activities, such as lunches, dinners and picnics, are organized for workers and their families - activities that did not exist before the union began the organizing campaign.
Your employer might try to sway you from supporting a union by saying or doing the following:
"Management Won’t Listen to the Union" - Management wants you to believe that workers coming together in a union have little power, and that, should the workplace become unionized, management won’t bargain with the workers, or comply with the workers’ contract. What management doesn't want you to know is that, by federal law, they must cooperate when workers form a union.
Threatening Your Benefits - It is against the law to threaten your benefits as punishment for supporting a union.
Pressuring Team Leaders and Supervisors - Management may pressure your supervisors to subtly, or not so subtly, spread anti-union messages around your store. Many times, supervisors will use their personal relationships with employees to manipulate and harass. Again, under federal law, management is not allowed to promote, recruit, or fund any form of anti-union committee.
"We’re a Family - We’re a Team" - Management might organize a mandatory meeting in order to spread an anti-union message throughout your workplace, emphasizing that the company is a family and should stand united against the union. It is not unusual for anti-union videos and other forms of propaganda to be shown at these meetings. Occasionally, they open these meetings up to question and answer sessions. Click here for a list of questions you might want to ask.
Union Busters - Management may get so desperate that they hire highly paid union-busting consultants. These people are paid to keep workers from forming a union at any cost. Many times, employers pay these people as much as
at would benefit workers.
Strikes - The reality of strikes is that it’s your choice. Unions will examine all other alternatives before a strike is deemed necessary. Statistically, less than 1% of thousands of UFCW negotiated contracts end in strikes. Only members can decide to strike.
$ Money, Money, Money $ - Your employer may attempt to frighten you with talk about all the money you w
ct. But dues bring large rewards in pay raises, benefits, job security, representation and working conditions. The added pay and benefits workers receive through belonging to the union are much more than the cost of union dues. The dues go to pay for organizers, legal assistance, support staff, rent, materials, etc… which are all needed to maintain good contracts and adequate representation. No one pays dues until the workers have voted to accept a contract.
- To be treated with dignity and respect
- Medical benefits - employer paid at no cost to you
- Safe working conditions
- Better wages
|HOW TO ORGANIZE
UFCW Local 99 is committed to help working people without a Union improve their lives. We have a separate department and staff committed solely to assisting workers gain Union representation.
Below are the general steps toward achieving Union status:
- Call UFCW Local 99 to set up a meeting with yourself and a few interested co-workers
- Establish a committee of supporters throughout your workplace
- Have co-workers sign authorization cards to prove majority interest
- File a petition with The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) or demand a "card check" from your employer
- Win the election, of going through the NLRB
- Meet to decide what you want in your legally binding contract
- Negotiate a contract
- Ratify a contract
- Join the Union
If you have "had enough" at work and want to change things, we urge you to contact us. Don't wait until you can't take it anymore and quit. Contact us now!
|ORGANIZING IN HEALTH CARE
Around the country, growing numbers of healthcare workers and nurses are forming unions. We are demanding a voice in the decisions that affect our jobs and our patients.
Forming a union guarantees we are heard because we speak with one unified voice.
By working together as a group, rather than as isolated individuals, we become stronger advocates for our patients, our families, and ourselves.
With union representation we have guaranteed voice in decisions affecting our patients and our jobs, and management must treat us as equals
- Better staffing and quality care.
We can establish better staffing guidelines and more reasonable workloads, preserve professional standards, and stand up for quality patient care.
- Higher pay and regular raises.
This means guaranteed rewards for hard work and a pay system that recognizes longevity and the cost of living.
- Quality Benefits and retirement security.
We can negotiate for the health, retirement, vacation, sick leave, and other benefits our families need most.
- Job security and representation.
We can stand united against job cuts, de-skilling, and outsourcing. We can also speak out about problems on the job and patient care concerns without fear of reprisals.