Why is the company opposed to unions?
The union acts as the voice of individual employees. Unions challenge unfair or arbitrary decisions made by an employer or company. A union ensures that the individual employee takes part in decision’s regarding issues such as hours of work, level of wages and salaries, job assignments and safety. Companies sometime forget that the success or future of the company is a direct result of the employees. Therefore, employees must have a say in the future of the company. A union only maintains a sense of democracy within a company and should be considered a constructive influence.
What is a Union?
A union is an organization committed to representing the individual. It establishes a true sense of democracy in our private enterprise system and corporate oriented economy; it represents the individual’s interest when the company’s interest conflicts with it or even fails to consider it; it represents public or government employees as they seek to apply industrial democracy to their jobs and working conditions.
Why is the union so interested in us?
Unions are interested in any employees who are seeking stronger representation within their companies.
What happens if I sign a union card?
Signing a union card is just the first step of a thorough process in determining whether a company wants to obtain a union contract. In order to obtain this contract, a majority of employees must sign union cards, authorizing them in collective bargaining with their employer. A petition can then be filed with the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board), requesting that a secret ballot elections be held to confirm that a majority of employees want the union. If that majority votes in favor of the union, the NLRB will certify the union as the official bargaining representative.
If I have not signed a card before an election, does this mean I will be treated differently if the union wins?
No. Such actions would be discriminatory and are neither permitted by law nor practiced by unions.
If the union loses the election, will the people who signed cards lose their jobs?
No. The NLRB applies rules under federal law which are intended to keep employees’ rights to organize into a union fair and honest. If an employer acts in such a way as to interfere with your right to help organize a union, charges can be filed against the company with the NLRB.
Am I obligated to vote for the union just because I signed a card?
No. The United States Government (NLRB) will and does guarantee that all representation elections will be by secret ballot; you are free to vote as you please.
If a union gets in a company, are union supporters given preferences in wages and job assignments?
No. By law, no employee can be given preference in wages and job assignments just because of his/her union support.
If a union gets in a company, does the company have to pay any money to the union?
No. The law prohibits a company from paying money to the union.
Does it cost money to belong to a union?
Until a you become a member of the union, you do not pay anything. At the time that you become a member, you pay dues that have been determined by the entire membership. Just like the Moose, Elks, American Legion, health clubs or any other membership organization, dues are a fact of life. We all realize this fact and are willing to contribute our fair share. In the end your employer pays your union dues many times over because of the increased wages and benefits you will receive through your union contract. Just ask yourself, “What am I paying in nonunion dues?”
Is it true that the union can make promises to employees during their organization drive just to get their votes?
A union can promise workers the right to have someone represent them on matters with which they disagree with the company. It can also promise to act as the collective bargaining agent in all matters concerning wages, hours, and conditions of employment. The record demonstrates that promises made by the unions are fulfilled. In recent years some 150,00 collective bargaining agreements covering more than 18 million workers have been made and less than 2% of them were affected by strikes. Therefore, in more than 98% of all cases, collective bargaining was successful. Local 103, IBEW has not had a strike against our signatory employers since 1926.
Do employees lose their right to bargain individually with management about wages, hours and working conditions if a union gets in our company?
The union negotiates contracts that provide for improved wages and benefits. These betterments establish the minimum wages and benefits an employer must pay for all employees that the union represents. An employee can get more money from the employer on his/her own, so long as that employee and the employer do not violate the contract to the detriment of the other employees that the union represents.
If the union wins a representation election, does the company automatically have to sign a contract with the union?
The company must bargain in good faith with the union toward reaching an agreement. 99% of the time a contract is reached with the company.
Can unions guarantee job security?
The only guarantees in life are death and taxes. The union cannot and the employer cannot guarantee anyone job security; however, employees represented by unions historically have enjoyed greater job security.
Can the union get me a raise or any other increased fringe benefit?
The union will be the collective voice of the employees in advocating for wages and fringe benefit increases.
Can a company close down because a union is voted in?
No. It is against the law for a company to close down simply because a union is voted in.
Could the union force the company to do away with work rules?
No. However, if you find those rules unjust or discriminatory, the union, as a collective bargaining agent, can help ensure that your workplace is operated fairly.
Could the union tell the company how to run their operation?
No. The union acts as the collective bargaining agent in matters concerning wages, hours and conditions of employment. A union does not run the company
in which you work; it provides you the right to have someone represent you on matters with which you disagree with the company.
Can the union require the company to replace supervisory personnel with people of the union’s choosing?
No. It is management’s prerogative to select supervisory personnel.
Can the union automatically get employees the things that the union had promised?
The union will not make promises to you about any issue that it cannot deliver on. Although nothing is automatic, union success in bargaining is evident. It has already been mentioned that 150,000 collective bargaining agreements have been made in recent years with a majority of employee issues being satisfied.
Is the company allowed to speak out against the union?
Yes. And it is very likely they will. It is in the employers best interest (not yours) to keep the company union-free. Your employer will tell you anything, even lie to you, to remain union-free. On the other hand, it is in the union’s best interest to be as up-front and honest with you and also to let you know the type of tactics that will be used by your employer.
Are there things that a supervisor cannot do about our union activities?
The following are examples of employer conduct that interferes with the rights of employees:
- Threatening the loss of jobs or benefits
- Threatening employees about their union activity
- Promising or granting promotions, pay raises, or other benefit in return for being against the union
- Discriminating or firing employees to discourage unionism.
- If any of these Section 7 violations do occur the union will file charges with the National Labor Relations Board on your behalf. You have the legal right to support and join a union of your own choosing and will make sure that right is not interfered with by unscrupulous employers.