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  • What is a Union?
    Updated On: Feb 29, 2016

    What is a Union?

    A Union is a democratic organization of a majority of the employees in a facility. The basic idea of 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."


    WHO RUNS THE UNION? THE COMPANY SAYS THAT THE UNION IS JUST A BUNCH OF OUTSIDERS - A THIRD PARTY

    You run your own Union. Your negotiating committee is selected from those in your workplace who will work with a Business Representative to prepare a list of improvements (from those submitted by members of your Unit) for a Union contract. You elect your own officers and stewards are appointed from your Unit. The Union is not "outsiders" it is you, the worker.


    CAN I GET FIRED FOR HELPING THE UNION OR FOR ATTENDING A UNION MEETING?

    It is illegal for you to be fired, punished or harassed for attending union meetings or for supporting a Union. The law protects your right as workers to improve your working conditions.


    WHAT BENEFITS CAN THE UNION GUARANTEE?

    The Union can only guarantee one thing; with the support, strength, and unity of the workers, working together we will win the best wage and benefit package possible.


    WILL I LOSE THE BENEFITS I HAVE NOW?

    No, it is against the law for the company to take away any benefits you now have in order to punish you for voting for a union.


    WILL THE SHOP FACILITY CLOSE IF I VOTE FOR A UNION?

    It is against the law for the company to close or threaten to close because of Union activity. Remember, companies go out of business because people stop buying their product, not because their workers are treated fairly.


    WHAT IF MY EMPLOYER CAN'T AFFORD A UNION CONTRACT?

    No one wants your company to close, especially a real Union, one that represents the best interest of its workers. If the company says they can't afford the wage and benefit increase that the workers want, we say it must prove its poverty by showing the Union its financial records. Then we can make decisions together based on real information instead of company propaganda.


    WHAT CAN WE EXPECT THE COMPANY TO DO TO TRY TO GET US TO VOTE AGAINST THE UNION?

    Usually the company tries to influence employees with scare-talk, anti-union speeches and letters. On the other hand, be prepared for the company to be on their best behavior until the campaign is over. Some companies even make improvements during a union campaign, hoping employees will forget about their past problems.


    DOES THE COMPANY HAVE TO NEGOTIATE IF THE UNION WINS?

    Yes. The law requires the company to bargain "in good faith" with the committee which the employees elect.


    IS IT EASY TO GET A UNION IN?

    No, it takes the work of employees who are dedicated to helping their coworkers. And it takes the active involvement of as many employees as possible.

    The Company will say a lot of things to keep you from gaining your rights! Be sure to consider the facts and not be influenced by the fiction. 


  • IBEW 339

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