UNION

a. The act of uniting or the state of being united.
b. A combination so formed, especially an alliance or confederation of people, parties, or political entities for mutual interest or benefit.

A Union is an alliance of people for mutual interest. No more no less, it’s not “union bosses”, or a corporation, or some sort of conspiracy. A union is you and me agreeing that we want x amount of dollars to do a job. We agree we (our new Union) won’t do the job for less and we tell our employer so. We sit down and draw up an agreement based on our mutually agreed wage. This process of negotiation with our employer is called collective (all of us together) Bargaining.

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

Collective Bargaining is the basis and the tool on which Unions are formed and agreements are forged.
A collective bargaining agreement is the ultimate goal of the collective bargaining process. Typically, the agreement establishes wages, hours, promotions, benefits, and other employment terms as well as procedures for handling disputes arising under it. Because the collective bargaining agreement cannot address every workplace issue that might arise in the future, unwritten customs and past practices, external law, and informal agreements are as important to the collective bargaining agreement as the written instrument itself.

Collective bargaining allows workers and employers to reach voluntary agreement on a wide range of topics. Even so, it is limited to some extent by federal and state laws. A collective bargaining agreement cannot accomplish by contract what the law prohibits. For example, a union and an employer cannot use collective bargaining to deprive employees of rights they would otherwise enjoy under laws such as the Civil Rights statutes (Alexander v. Gardner-Denver Co., 415 U.S. 36, 94 S. Ct. 1011, 39 L. Ed. 2d 147 [1974]). Collective bargaining also cannot be used to waive rights or obligations that laws impose on either party. For example, an employer may not use collective bargaining to reduce the level of safety standards it must follow under the occupational safety and health act (OSHA) (29 U.S.C.A. §§ 651 et seq.). Furthermore, the collective bargaining agreement is not purely voluntary. One party's failure to reach agreement entitles the other to resort to certain legal tactics, such as strikes and lockouts, to apply economic pressure and force agreement. Moreover, unlike commercial contracts governed by state law, the collective bargaining agreement is governed almost exclusively by federal Labor Law, which determines the issues that require collective bargaining, the timing and method of bargaining, and the consequences of a failure to bargain properly or to adhere to a collective bargaining agreement.

NATIONAL LABOR RELATION ACT

Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) (29 U.S.C.A. §§ 151 et seq.) in 1935 to establish the right of workers to engage in collective bargaining and other group activities (§ 157). The NLRA also created the national labor relations board (NLRB), a federal agency authorized to enforce the right to bargain collectively (§ 153). The NLRA has been amended several times since 1935, most notably in 1947, 1959, and 1974.

The NLRA governs labor relations for businesses involved in interstate commerce only; thus, it does not protect the collective bargaining interests of all categories of workers. Several classes of employers fall outside the NLRA, including those working for the U.S. government and its wholly owned corporations, states and their political subdivisions, railroads, and airlines. The NLRA also does not protect certain types of workers, such as agricultural workers, independent contractors, and supervisory and managerial employees. But other federal and state laws often provide protection for workers not covered under the NLRA. For example, federal government workers enjoy the right to bargain collectively under the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, which is patterned largely after the NLRA and enforced by the Federal Labor Relations Authority. Railroads and airlines are generally governed by the Railway Labor Act, the predecessor to the NLRA. Plus many states have adopted statutes similar to the NLRA that protect the rights of state and local government workers to bargain collectively.

Sections 8(a)(5) and 8(b)(3) of the NLRA define the failure to engage in collective bargaining as an unfair labor practice (29 U.S.C.A. § 158[a][5], [b][3]). The aggrieved party may file an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the NLRB, which has the authority to prevent or halt the performance of unfair labor practices (§ 160).

If an employer does not abide by the rules laid out in the NLRA and Unfair Labor Practice case may be brought by an employee.

CARD CHECK

Contrary to BIG Business propaganda card check would allow employees to decide whether they want a secret ballot or a signature vote to decide whether a union should be formed. Currently the employer decides.

35 Things your employer cannot do:

1. Attend any union meeting, park across the street from the hall 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  program.

2. Tell employees that the company will fire or punish them if they engage in union activity

3. Lay off, discharge, discipline any employee for union activity.

4. Grant employees wage increases, special concessions or benefits in order to keep the union out.

5. Bar employee-union representatives from soliciting employees’ memberships on or off the company property during non-waking hours.

6. Ask employees about union matters, meetings, etc. (Some employees may, of their own accord, walk up and tell of such matters. It is not an unfair labor practice to listen, but to ask questions to obtain additional information is illegal).

7. Ask employees what they think about the union or a union representative once the employee refuses to discuss it.

8. Ask employees how they intend to vote.

9. Threaten employees with reprisal for participating in union activities. For example, threaten to close the business, curtail operations or reduce employees’ benefits.

10. Promise benefits to employees if they reject the union.

11. Give financial support or other assistance to a union.

12. Announce that the company will not deal with the union.

13. Threaten to close, in fact close, or move plant in order to avoid dealing with a union.

14. Ask employees whether or not they belong to a union, or have signed up for union representation.

15. Ask an employee, during the hiring interview, about his affiliation with a union or how he feels about unions.

16. Make anti-union statements or act in a way that might show preference for a non-union man.

17. Make distinctions between union and non-union employees when signing overtime work or desirable work.

18. Purposely team up non-union men and keep them apart from those supporting the union.

19. Transfer workers on the basis of union affiliations or activities.

20. Choose employees to be laid off in order to weaken the union’s strength or discourage membership in the union.

21. Discriminate against union people when disciplining employees.

22. By nature of work assignments, create conditions intended to get rid of an employee because of his union activity.

23. Fail to grant a scheduled benefit or wage increase because of union activity.

24. Deviate from company policy for the purpose of getting rid of a union supporter.

25. Take action that adversely affects an employee’s job or pay rate because of union activity.

26. Threaten workers or coerce them in an attempt to influence their vote.

27. Threaten a union member through a third party.

28. Promise employees a reward or future benefit if they decide “no union”.

29. Tell employees overtime work (and premium pay) will be discontinued if the plant is unionized.

30. Say unionization will force the company to lay off employees.

31. Say unionization will do away with vacations or other benefits and privileges presently in effect.

32. Promise employees promotions, raises or other benefits if they get out of the union or refrain from joining the union.

33. Start a petition or circular against the union or encourage or take part in its circulation if started by employees.

34. Urge employees to try to induce others to oppose the union or keep out of it.

35. Visit the homes of employees to urge them to reject the union.

 

Dept of Labor

The United States Department of Labor is a Cabinet department of the United States government which means the Secretary of Labor reports directly to the President of the United States. The Secretary and the Dept are responsible for occupational safety, wage and hour standards, unemployment insurance benefits, re-employment services, and some economic statistics.

Organizing

One of the most historically important organizers in history was Samuel Gompers. The First President of the AFL which eventually became the AFL-CIO.

 

Organize Your Workplace
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A Local 45 Organizer will contact you. All inquiries are personal and confidential.

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