ORGANIZING A UNION
The Law, Employee Rights and How they affect Workers Rights
Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act grants employees right to "form, join or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of mutual aid and protection." It is an "unfair labor practice" ("ULP") for management to violate these rights
Employer unfair labor practices of the kind that occur typically in organizing campaigns are addressed primarily in two sections of the Act: Section 8(a)(1) and Section 8(a)(3).
Section 8(a)(1) says the employer may not "interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees" in the exercise of their rights.
Section 8 (a)(3) says the employer may not discriminate against employees with regard to the tenure of their employment or any terms or conditions of employment in order to discourage union activity or concerted activity.
In general, 8(a)(1)'s are threats and 8(a)(3)'s are the carrying out of the threats or the actual discrimination.
The following are some examples of employee rights and employer
unfair labor practices.
Employee Right to Campaign for the Union
As a rule, employees have an absolute right to campaign for the union during non-working times in non-work areas. Most campaigning by employees takes place during breaks in non-work areas, and before and after work.
In those situations when talking about other non-work topics is allowed - employees may campaign orally for the union - even during work hours.
The right to distribute literature and to solicit cards may be somewhat more restricted. Employers can limit such activity to the employee's own time and to non-work areas. However, in most work situations, employers may not prohibit workers from wearing union buttons or t-shirts.
Any no-solicitation rules adopted by the employer may not discriminate against union activity. Any privileges given to anti-union committees should be given to pro-union employees. In addition, off-work employees must normally be allowed access to parking lots and entrance gates, except in special circumstances.
Access Rights of Organizers
Non-employee organizers can be barred from company premises in most circumstances, but organizers do have a first amendment right to distribute literature on public property.
Employers are prohibited from spying on employees engaged in union activity. It is also a violation to create the impression that surveillance is occurring.
It is an unfair labor practice for management to question employees about their union sympathies, although this does not apply to employees who are openly pro union, unless the atmosphere is coercive. For example, it is not objectionable for supervisors to debate a pro-union employee about why he or she supports the union. But to seek out and interrogate secret supporters is objectionable.
Although the employer may criticize and attack the union, even to the point of making untrue statements, it is unlawful for the employer to threaten to retaliate against employees for supporting the union. This includes threats to fire, layoff, close the facility, or take away benefits because the employees voted for a union.
Granting of Raises or Benefits
Special raise or new benefits given during a campaign, or promises of such, are unlawful if used as a bribe. However, it is rare for unions to file charges over such conduct.
If the company engages in a massive pattern of unfair labor practices, and the union can prove majority support at some point, the board may order the employer to bargain despite a union election loss. This referred to "Gissell" order.
Domination or Support of Union
Employers may not provide support to a particular union or employee group as a way of discouraging independent union activity, nor can the employer fund anti-union committees.
Discharges and Other Discriminatory Actions
The employer may not discriminate against an employee to discourage union activity, by firing, laying off, demoting, or in any way discriminating with respect to the person's tenure of employment.
To prove such a violation of section 8 (a)(3) of the Act, the employee must demonstrate both of the following:
1. Company knowledge of the employee's union activity;
2. Anti-union motivation for the discrimination (The Board calls this "animus.")
The usual remedy for an unlawful discharge is reinstatement with back pay.
Retaliation for Testifying
It is a violation of section 8(a)(4) of the act to retaliate against an employee for participating in Board proceedings.
It should be noted that since supervisors are not covered by the Act, it is not unlawful for an employer to fire a supervisor for supporting the union. However, it is a violation of section 8(,I)(1) to fire a supervisor for refusing to violate the law.
Undocumented workers are covered by the protection of the NLRB. It is in unfair labor practice for the employer to call in the Immigration and Naturalization Service to report pro union employees.
A Quick Study of How Unions Help Workers Win a Voice on the Job - Unions 101
What is a union?
A union is a group of workers who form an organization to gain:
Respect on the job,
Better wages and benefits,
More flexibility for work and family needs,
A counterbalance to the unchecked power of employers, and
A voice in improving the quality of their products and services.
How do workers form a union?
When workers decide they want to come together to improve their jobs, they work with a union to help them form their own local chapter. Once a majority of workers shows they want a union, sometimes employers honor the workers’ choice. Often, the workers must ask the government (NLRB) to hold an election. If the workers win their union, they negotiate a contract with the employer that spells out each party’s rights and responsibilities in the workplace.
Does the law protect workers joining unions?
It’s supposed to—but too often it doesn’t. Under the law, employers are not allowed to discriminate against or fire workers for choosing to join a union. For example, it’s illegal for employers to threaten to shut down their businesses or to fire employees or take away benefits if workers form a union. However, employers routinely violate these laws, and the penalties are weak or nonexistent.
How can we help YOU?
Through the UNION, workers win better wages, benefits and a voice on the job—and good union jobs mean stronger communities. Union workers earn 28 percent more than nonunion workers and are more likely to receive health care and pension benefits than those without a union. In 2004, median weekly earnings for full-time union wage and salary workers were $781, compared with $612 for their nonunion counterparts. Unions lead the fight today for better lives for working people, such as through expanded family and medical leave, improved safety and health protections and fair-trade agreements that lift the standard of living for workers all over the world.
What have unions accomplished for all workers?
Unions have made life better for all working Americans by helping to pass laws ending child labor, establishing the eight-hour day, protecting workers’ safety and health and helping create Social Security, unemployment insurance and the minimum wage, for example. Unions are continuing the fight today to improve life for all working families in America.
What challenges do security police officer professionals face today when they want to form unions?
Today, thousands of workers want to join our union. The wisest employers understand that when workers form unions, their companies also benefit. But most employers fight workers’ efforts to come together by intimidating, harassing and threatening them. In response, workers are reaching out to their communities for help exercising their freedom to improve their lives.
What are the ways we can form a union ?
Election by the National Labor Relations Board
The employer and union may agree to an election conducted by an outside agency National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
Voluntary recognition can occur where the employer agrees to recognize the union based upon cards signed by a majority of employees. If the union persuades the employer to agree to a "card check," ,a third party, such is a member of the clergy, arbitrator, or any other individual, can examine the cards to verify majority support. Once an employer agrees to a card check - and review of the cards indicates that there is a majority support - the employer is required by law to bargain with the union.
What is the organizing process and how long will it take?
Employees are in the card signing stage. If enough employees show support by signing Membership Cards ( 50 % or More requirement )our UNION will petition the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)and ask that a secret ballot vote take place.
After a petition is filed, the NLRB will conduct a secret ballot election usually within 60 days from the filing of the petition. Employees will now have an opportunity to vote YES in favor of unionization by us or vote for no representation. If over 50% of those voting cast a vote in favor of Union representation, than your entire group will now be represented by the UNION and the negotiating process will begin.
Only You Can Make This Organizing Drive a Success
Don’t Be Afraid to Sign a UNION Membership Card
Remember if Management Tells you something Bad about OUR UNION ….Its Probably a Lie !
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF JOINING A UNION?
Unions Raises Wages—Especially for Minorities and Women
Union membership helps raise workers' pay and narrow the income gap that disadvantages minorities and women. Union workers earn 28 percent more than nonunion workers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their median weekly earnings for full-time wage and salary work were $781 in 2004, compared with $612 for their nonunion counterparts.
The union wage benefit is even greater for minorities and women. Union women earn 34 percent more than nonunion women, African American union members earn 29 percent more than their nonunion counterparts, for Latino workers, the union advantage totals 59 percent and for Asian workers, the union advantage is 11 percent.
Union Pay Is Higher in All Occupational Groups
In every occupational category, union members earn more than nonunion workers. By comparing the wages of workers within occupational groups, the union difference is most clear.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Earnings, January 2005.
Union Workers Have Better Health Care and Pensions.
Union workers are more likely than their nonunion counterparts to receive health care and pension benefits, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2004, 89 percent of union workers in private industry participated in medical care benefits, compared with only 67 percent of nonunion workers. Union workers also are more likely to have retirement and short-term disability benefits.
As the chart below illustrates, 84 percent of union workers are covered by pension plans versus 56 percent of nonunion workers. Seventy percent of union workers have defined-benefit retirement coverage, compared with 16 percent of nonunion workers. (Defined-benefit plans are federally insured and provide a guaranteed monthly pension amount. They are better for workers than defined-contribution plans, in which the benefit amount depends on how well the underlying investments perform.)
UNION WORKERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO HAVE
HEALTH AND PENSION BENEFITS, 2004
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employee Benefits in Private Industry, March 2004. Nov. 2004.
THE UNION DIFFERENCE
Workers' Incomes Are Lower in States Where Workers Don't Have Union Rights
In states that have laws restricting workers' rights to form strong unions, the average pay for all workers is lower. So-called "right-to-work" laws that limit workers' rights to collectively bargain contracts (including wages and benefits) are a bad deal for all workers. In 2002, average pay in so-called "right-to-work" states was 15 percent lower than in states where workers have the freedom to form strong unions.
Percentage of Workers in Unions, 2002
Annual Average Pay, 2002
Note: Right-to-work states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.
and 2002 for all covered workers by state.
Unions Are Good for Productivity
Unions increase productivity, according to most recent studies. The voice that union members have on the job—sharing in decision-making about promotions and work and production standards—increases productivity and improves management practices. Better training, lower turnover and longer tenure also make union workers more productive.
How Unions Help Bring Low-Wage Workers Out of Poverty
Union members in low-wage occupations on average earn a great deal more than nonunion workers in the same occupations, often lifting their earnings rates above the official poverty level. For example, union security guards may earn $10.97 per hour, 36 percent more than nonunion workers in the same occupation. Over a year’s time, having a union card could translate into almost $6,100 more in pay for such a low-wage worker.
Union workers also often gain better benefits, including health insurance and pensions. While not a total cure, union membership can go a long way toward worker self-sufficiency in today’s economy.
Union workers’ median weekly earnings are 28 percent higher than their nonunion counterparts.
While only 16 percent of nonunion workers have guaranteed pensions, fully 70 percent of union workers do.
86 percent of union workers’ jobs provide health insurance benefits, compared with only 59.5 percent of nonunion workers’ jobs. Only 2.5 percent of union workers are uninsured, compared with 15 percent of nonunion workers.
Median weekly wages for women union workers are 34 percent higher than nonunion women.
Median weekly wages for African American workers in unions are 29 percent higher than for nonunion African Americans; for Latinos, the difference is 59 percent; and for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,
it is 11 percent.