What is Organizing?
The common term for a group of workers looking to join a union
is “Organizing.” Workers organize for various reasons, be it to
improve their working conditions, increase their pay or
benefits, and/or to create a better working environment. We
encourage you to read more about us to see if joining our union
is right for you and/or your coworkers.
The American Promise is that if we go to school, work hard, and
become a productive and faithful employee, we can then expect to
support a family, raise and educate our children, enjoy a
healthy and fulfilling life and retire with dignity. We weren’t
supposed to have to win the lottery, or be a corporate executive
to enjoy the American dream.
That was the vision of middle class Americans, who once modeled
the image of what it was to be an American. The middle class is
disappearing in direct proportion to the demise of the American
union movement. After World War II, nearly 30 percent of our
work force belonged to unions. Today, barely half that are
organized. Today, a few own the world’s resources while most
live in poverty.
Wages of $8 per hour are common. For most of these workers there
is no health insurance or retirement plans. The result?
Taxpayers across the United States are making up for what
employers should be paying with public assistance programs.
That’s corporate welfare.
Why are wages so low? Because that’s the easiest way to increase
profitability. The result? Today, the wealthiest one percent own
as much of our nation as ninety percent of the rest of us.
Corporate CEO’s can earn 500 times the wages paid their workers.
The freedom to form unions is a basic human right. In 1935, the
US Government enacted the National Labor Relations Act that
said, “Employees shall have the right to form…labor
organizations…to bargain collectively…(and employers may not)
interfere with…the exercise of…this right.” In 1948, the US
joined four-fifths of United Nations member states to ratify the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights which included the right
of all people to come together in unions.
Workers form unions because there is power in numbers. Where
unions are strong, employers must bargain collectively to set
the terms and conditions of employment. The demand for profits
must then be compromised with fairness toward workers.
How Employers Prevent Unions?
When American workers seek to exercise the right to form a
union, they nearly always run into a buzz saw of employer
threats, intimidation and coercion such as:
• Captive audience meetings
• One-on-one meetings with
• Threats to close or move the
workplace if workers vote to unionize
• Hiring professional consultants
(union-busters) to coordinate anti-
• Firing workers for union activity
According to Human Rights Watch, the treatment of workers by
employers and the failure of the US government to prevent it
constitute a serious violation of human rights. Their report
says, “Many workers…are spied on, harassed, pressured,
threatened, suspended, fired, deported or otherwise victimized
in reprisal for their exercise of the right to choose a union.”
The consequences have been devastation for all of American
society. When collective bargaining is suppressed, wages lag,
inequality and poverty grow, race and gender pay gaps widen,
society’s safety net is strained and civic and political
participation are undermined.
What Have Unions Done for Us?
5-day work week
Family and medical leave
Fair treatment for women, people of color, and those with
Union members earn 28 percent more than nonunion workers. But
stronger unions raise living standards and improve the quality
of life for everyone. In the 10 states in which unions are the
strongest, there is less poverty, higher household income, more
education spending, and better public policy than in the 10
states where unions are weakest.
Unions Encourage Democracy:
Unions encourage voting and other forms of political
participation by members and other social groups with common
interests. Political Scientist Benjamin Radcliff has estimated
that for every 1 percent decline in union membership there is a
0.4 percent decline in voter participation.
35 Things Your Employer Cannot Do:
|1. Attend any union meeting, park across the street from the
hall or engage in any undercover activity which would indicate that the employees are being kept under surveillance to determine who is
and who is not participating in the union program.
|2. Tell employees that the company will fire or punish them if
they engage in union activity.
|3. Lay off, discharge, discipline any employee for union
|4. Grant employees wage increases, special concessions or benefits in order to keep the union out.
|5. Bar employee-union representatives from soliciting employees’ memberships on or off the company property during non-waking
|6. Ask employees about union matters, meetings, etc. (Some
employees may, of their own accord, walk up and tell of such matters. It
is not an unfair labor practice to listen, but to ask questions to
obtain additional information is illegal).
|7. Ask employees what they think about the union or a union
representative once the employee refuses to discuss it.
|8. Ask employees how they intend to vote.
|9. Threaten employees with reprisal for participating in union
activities. For example, threaten to move the plant or close the business,
curtail operations or reduce employees’ benefits.
|10. Promise benefits to employees if they reject the union.
|11. Give financial support or other assistance to a union.
|12. Announce that the company will not deal with the union.
13. Threaten to close, in fact close, or move plant in order to
avoid dealing with a union.
|14. Ask employees whether or not they belong to a union, or have
signed up for union representation.
|15. Ask an employee, during the hiring interview, about his
affiliation with a labor organization or how he feels about unions.
|16. Make anti-union statements or act in a way that might show preference for a non-union man.
|17. Make distinctions between union and non-union employees when
assigning overtime work or desirable work.
|18. Purposely team up non-union men and keep them apart from
those supporting the union.
|19. Transfer workers on the basis of union affiliations or
|20. Choose employees to be laid off in order to weaken the
union’s strength or discourage membership in the union.
|21. Discriminate against union people when disciplining
|22. By nature of work assignments, create conditions intended to
get rid of an employee because of his union activity.
|23. Fail to grant a scheduled benefit or wage increase because
of union activity.
|24. Deviate from company policy for the purpose of getting rid
of a union supporter.
|25. Take action that adversely affects an employee’s job or pay
rate because of union activity.
|26. Threaten workers or coerce them in an attempt to influence
|27. Threaten a union member through a third party.
|28. Promise employees a reward or future benefit if they decide
|29. Tell employees overtime work (and premium pay) will be
discontinued if the plant is unionized.
|30. Say unionization will force the company to lay off employees.
|31. Say unionization will do away with vacations or other
benefits and privileges presently in effect.
|32. Promise employees promotions, raises or other benefits if
they get out of the union or refrain from joining the union.
|33. Start a petition or circular against the union or encourage
or take part in its circulation if started by employees.
|34. Urge employees to try to induce others to oppose the union
or keep out of it.
|35. Visit the homes of employees to urge them to reject the