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?
Did you know that there's a Bill of Rights for union members? Or that unions pick members to bargain with management on your behalf? Not all unions are structured the same. Some affiliate with larger labor organizations for advice and others stay independent, seeing themselves as their own best advocates. However you decide to structure your unit, what matters most is that it meets the needs of your members. These articles discuss the structures of U.S. unions.
The Short Answer: Anyone!
If you’re planning to organize your workplace, it’s crucial to understand how unions and the laws that govern them differ from sector to sector.
Sometimes the word union and phrase bargaining unit are used interchangeably, but knowing how one functions in relation to the other under U.S. law is key in the early stages of organizing your workplace.
Dues are a regular payment from members that fund their union. They finance crucial union operations like contract negotiations and enforcement, organizing, and member-driven programs. It's one of the most common questions about unionizing so let's break down the basics.
Here’s what you need to know about going on strike — without striking out.
Paperwork may not be the most exciting aspect of organizing, but keeping on top of it is essential.
Weingarten rights, established by the Supreme Court in 1975, guarantee employees the right to union representation during investigatory interviews.
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.
Let's talk about union officers, and how they help keep your union running smoothly.
In this article, we cover how you can start making better decisions by giving everyone a voice.
There are a lot of ways in which joining a
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.
Unions and democracies have a lot in common as each are systems that make decisions based on the majority opinions of the people they serve.
Your organization has direct effects on greater systems of people, politics, and space, and a smart organizer will know how to tap into them.
Once you’ve exhausted your internal options and know your unit is ready, it’s time to put the bosses on blast.
Having a clear sense of member stakes is essential before heading to the negotiating table. So, what goes into a bargaining survey?
These two major forms of labor organizations have their advantages and disadvantages, and below, we’ve outlined which path might best suit your union needs.
While there certainly are benefits to forming an independent union, you don’t have to go it alone. Joining an affiliated union can bring myriad benefits to you and your coworkers.
Don’t jump right to an election! Take the time to build support and a strong unit that can and will prevail in the end.
Though the unpredictable nature of people and politics means that strategies and plans change rapidly, there are some standard tools in every organizer’s 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.
Keeping members engaged is all about finding a balance between encouraging participation without alienating them or burning people out. To quote the lefty poet and playwright Oscar Wilde; “The trouble with socialism is that it takes up too many evenings.”
Especially if you’re just getting started, this may seem like a lot to take in, but it’s important to know that you need to be strategic about who your union represents from the outset and be able to see through the sometimes murky lines that divide you and your coworkers from management.