Local 789, 266 Hardman Ave., So. St. Paul, MN 55075, Ph.#: 651/451-6240,
Fax: 651/451-8227, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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when employees show interest in organizing a Union, the company
responds with an anti-union program. They may begin group meetings
to try to scare workers out of signing authorization cards or talking
to union representatives. They may also start a "nice"
campaign and suddenly become interested in workplace problems and
even offer "quick fix" solutions, like raises or improved
benefits. Where does their new found concern come from? Their only
hope is to discourage you from Union representation.
prepare yourself! The information contained in this packet will
help you deal with some of the tactics your employer may use to
convince you that you donít need a Union. Refer to it as management
tries to confuse you with misstatements. All major points are covered
and addressed within, but if you have additional questions, please
feel free to contract us at 651/451-6240 (Toll free 1-877-UFCW789).
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
How do we go
about getting a Union in our workplace?
The first step is to form a committee among the workers with representatives
from each department and shift. The committeeís job is to attend
meetings and educate themselves about the Union. Then they can educate
their co-workers, and help dispel false information spread by management.
the majority of the employees must sign cards stating they want
to have a Union in their workplace. After a majority of workers
have signed up, the Union can ask the employer to recognize the
Union, or file a petition for an election with the National Labor
Relations Board (NLRB).
the Union files for an election, then the employees have a chance
to vote for the Union in a secret ballot election conducted by the
government. If the Union wins a majority of votes, and the employer
does not challenge the vote on legal grounds, then the Union can
begin the process of negotiating a collective bargaining agreement
does signing the card mean?
It means you want the Union. Please do not sign just to get
an election. The card is a commitment of support.
Can I be fired for participating
in the campaign?
First of all, the law prohibits your employer from discriminating
against workers in any way because of their Union activity. If an
employer does harass or discriminate against a Union supporter,
the Union files a charge with the Labor Board, and prosecutes the
employer to the fullest extent.
best safeguard against the employer harassing anyone is for everyone
to stick together and organize a Union. Without a Union, management
has a free hand to treat people as they please. But with a Union,
everyone has the protection of a Union contract and representation
in the workplace.
Who runs the
The Union is a democratic organization run by the members. You
will elect your own officers. You vote on all issues important to
you. You vote on your contract. Union members elect delegates to
the International convention, where delegates elect officers and
vote on major issues affecting the Union such as constitutional
amendments. Remember, the Union is the people themselves.
Iíve heard a
rumor the company could close if the Union comes in.
Companies do not go out of business because they have a Union, or
because the workers are treated fairly. Companies close because
of market conditions or poor management. This is a scare tactic
employers use to keep people from gaining a voice on the job.
non-Union companies close each year than unionized companies. Government
studies have shown that a unionized firm is no more likely to close
than any other company.
a Union contract, fair wages and working conditions, and a voice
on the job, workers are more productive, and the company will probably
do better, not worse.
thing to keep in mind is that it is against the law for an employer
to threaten to close down a company to discourage workers from organizing
Wonít it cost
the employer a lot of money if the Union comes in?
In the short run, itís true that Unions cost employers more in terms
of wages and benefits. But in the long run, that doesnít necessarily
hurt the employer. Many Unions are good for employers as well as
for the workers.
reason is simple. With a Union, there is higher morale, and there
is a mechanism for workers to have a voice in how the workplace
employees are more productive and less likely to quit, so there
is less turnover. Also, management benefits when it gets input from
the workers on how the operation could be run better.
The company says
the Union is just after our dues money. Why should we pay money
to the Union?
Union dues go to help pay for expert services for the Local Union
members, including negotiators and lawyers; to pay for the salaries
of the staff, including representatives who will service your facility
on a weekly basis to handle problems and questions about your contract;
organizers, who help employees such as you form a Union in their
workplace; to provide newsletters and training conferences; and
for all of the day to day expenses of operating the Union office.
doesnít cost, it pays, to belong! Not belonging to a Union can be
expensive when you are laid off, discharged or passed by a promotion
time UNFAIRLY. Only a Union contract gives you a VOICE . . .a chance
to have YOUR SIDE heard and guarantees fair treatment to everyone
in the workplace.
other thing to keep in mind is, since when is your employer so concerned
about how you spend your money?
The company says
there will be a strike if we organize.
Management talks a lot about strikes during an organizing drive.
But did you know that 98% of all Union contracts are settled without
a strike? There could only be a strike if the employees vote
for the strike by a 2/3 majority. And itís only smart to vote
for a strike if you know you can win. The employer doesnít want
a strike any more than the workers or the Union does, so everyone
has an incentive to reach a compromise during bargaining.
have developed a lot of other tactics that can put pressure on management
to reach an agreement. For examples, Unions use boycotts or corporate
campaigns or community support, rather than necessarily having to
resort to striking.
management would prefer to keep employees thinking about non-issues
such as strikes. The real issues are job security, representation,
and equal treatment.
What will be
in our contract?
It is for the employees to decide what to negotiate for. After you
win Union recognition, you will elect a negotiating committee from
among your co-workers. This committee will survey the workers to
see what you want in your contract. Then, with the assistance of
Union negotiators, the committee will sit down with management to
negotiate a contract.
law says that both sides must bargain "in good faith"
to reach an agreement on wages, benefits and working conditions.
The contract will only take effect after it is approved (ratified)
by a majority of the workers.
is not possible to know what will be in the first contract. Our
goal will be to win improvements with each contract.
The company says
the Union canít guarantee us anything. Can you?
The Union can guarantee this: That when workers stick together as
a Union, they have more bargaining power and more of a voice than
they do as individuals.
the Union wins, you will negotiate a contract with the employer.
We can make no promises on what the contract will contain --- that
is for you to decide when you vote on your contract. We can guarantee
the contract will be legally binding, and the Union will make sure
the contract is enforced.