Getting Started

A labor union is an organization of workers who collectively negotiate the terms of their employment and improve working conditions. The goal of a union is to create a formal mechanism to protect and advocate for workers' needs and interests. Articles in this section break down what a union does, as well as why and how they help workers in both the short and long term. Let's get to work.

What is a labor union?

As union membership has declined in recent years, misconceptions around collective bargaining have grown. Maybe we’re biased, but just because unions aren’t as intense as they’re portrayed on TV doesn’t mean the work they do is any less exciting. So what exactly is a labor union?

How to talk to your coworkers about unionizing

While we have faith in your social skills, there are some things you should know before approaching your peers about unionizing. That’s why we’ve compiled some helpful tips on how to broach the subject like a boss. Or rather, like a worker.

Privacy FAQ for workers forming unions

Anxieties over being too public with union activities are bound to come up, so here’s a rundown on a few aspects of the process to know when it comes to privacy.

Organizing to solve a workplace issue

It’s likely that your coworkers might be dealing with the same or similar issue, and even if they’re not, they may be willing to throw their support behind a fellow coworker (like you).

Workplace mapping: know your office terrain

In order to build a successful union campaign, you want a clear and accurate picture of where there is support, where outreach is needed, and where there may be anti-union people who need to be neutralized.

How to run a union meeting

Unions are a group of people working collectively towards a solution. Whether in-person or virtual, it’s important to know how to facilitate effective meetings so that you can keep your organizing campaign moving forward.

Social media tool kit

Publicizing your union goals, updates, and more to the public allows you to make inroads with communities involved in the labor movement and build solidarity.

Hosting a pro-union event for friends

We often walk on political eggshells when it comes time to break bread with friends and family, but there is no better an advocate to inform and galvanize support for the cause than someone who is known and trusted.

What’s an organizing committee? Why should I form one?

At its root, an organizing committee is a group of workers who come together to change their workplace; OCs may form on an ad hoc basis or to address specific workplace issues, like health and safety concerns.megan

So, who runs this Guide?

Unit empowers workers with the knowledge and skills to form independent labor unions and build more equitable workplaces.

Is my coworker a supervisor or a manager?

The factors that classify someone as a manager or supervisor may not always be so clearcut, but there are general differences that can help you narrow your list down.

How to turn a conversation into action

Talking to coworkers is a critical part of forming a union - not just once, but on an ongoing basis. Management talks to workers all day - for the union to be meaningful it has to become a stronger force than management.

What’s a union authorization card?

When you form a union, you’ll need to eventually collect what are called authorization cards. Sometimes nicknamed auth cards (or authorization signature if you’re using unit), they can be physical or electronic, but their main purpose is to record a worker’s interest in union recognition.

Are unions legal in all states?

Yes! The right to organize a union is protected by federal law. States can't take your right to form a union away and employers can't make you sign it away.