You have a legal right to:
- Join a union.
- Attend a union meeting on your own time.
- Talk to a union organizer.
- Declare yourself a union supporter.
- Assist in forming a union.
Employers are forbidden by law to engage in certain conduct. Your employer may NOT legally:
- Threaten you with discharge or punishment if you engage in union activity.
- Threaten to shut down business if workers form a union.
- Prevent you from soliciting members during non-working hours.
- Question you about union matters, union meetings, or union supporters.
- Ask you how you or other workers intend to vote in an election.
- Ask you whether you belong to a union or have signed up to join a union.
- Transfer you to or assign you to a less desirable work assignment because of your union activity.
- Threaten to terminate your benefits because you unionize.
- Threaten a layoff or loss of jobs in retaliation for voting for a union.
HOW CAN MY WORKPLACE BECOME A UNION WORKPLACE?
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) provides a process to allow your workplace to become a Union Workplace. This process culminates in an election that is legally binding upon your employer. Those eligible to vote in this election are known by the NLRB as Bargaining Unit Employees. They are your co-workers. It is important to know that "Supervisors and Management" are not allowed in the bargaining unit and therefore do not vote!
Below is a brief outline of the NLRB procedure.
- One way to organize a company comes through the NLRB by what is known as a "Representative Election". However, before the NLRB will schedule an election there must be a suitable showing of interest by your coworkers in forming a union. A minimum of 30% of the effected bargaining unit employees have to show interest in forming a union at your facility. This is most commonly achieved by the signing of Authorization Cards or simply "A Cards". By virtue of your signature, the "A Card” signifies that you desire for the appropriate local union of the International Union of Operating Engineers to represent you for the purpose of collective bargaining.
- Along with the sufficient "Showing of Interest" an Election Petition must be filed with the NLRB. The NLRB will contact the employer and require them to provide a list of their employees. The NLRB will compare the names on the "A Cards” to the list provided by the employer to determine if there is sufficient interest, 30% or more, to warrant an election.
- Once it is determined that the bargaining unit is appropriate and that no supervisors or management are included, a date will be set by the NLRB for the election, usually 5 to 7 weeks out.
- On the day of the election, the NLRB will set up a polling area, usually on the employer’s property, and supervise the election. Employees vote by casting a paper ballot which they drop into a ballot box. At the end of the voting period, the polls are closed and the ballots are counted right on the spot. The union must win the majority of the votes to be declared the winner.
The above steps are the basics of the election process.
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