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December 10, 2018
What You Can Expect To During An Organizing Campaign

Preparedness is half the battle when organizing union representation at your workplace.

How bad can it get?

This is the number one question that most people who are contemplating organizing their workplace have. And the honest answer is: it can get pretty bad. But you have to remember an important fact, and one that management will never tell about.

YOU HAVE RIGHTS UNDER THE LAW!

Management will try all sorts of tricks and deceptions to attempt to keep you from signing those cards and voting 'yes' at election time. Some will be within their legal rights, and some won't. Knowing the facts can be the difference between a victory for you and your fellow employees, and defeat.

Remember that many companies are ignorant of labor laws, or just plain don't care if those laws are broken, and the rights of employees are trampled. Knowing where you stand is really the biggest hurdle you face in dealing with management.

What actions will management take in order to prevent a successful organizing drive?

The short answer? Anything and everything. Some will be legal, and some may very well be breaking labor law. Knowing the difference, and being prepared, is the best way to succeed.

Your company's management will have the opportunity during the organization drive to present a case against you joining a union. They may force you to attend mandatory meetings. They will present facts and figures tailored to bolster their case.

Here are some of the things management will try and throw at you:

Management: “A union is a third party that will come between us.”

Fact: Our union is a democratic, member-run organization. When you form a union, you’ll work together to govern your own organization. And every contract will be reviewed and approved by a majority of the employees where you work. In essence, YOU and your co-workers ARE the union.

Management: “The union will make you go on strike.”

Fact: Strikes are a rare last resort in contract negotiations—more than 95 percent of Teamster contracts are negotiated without a strike. And no strike will happen unless a majority of workers vote to call one.

Management: “If you form a union, you risk losing the benefits and pay raises you already have.”

Fact: It is illegal for a company to freeze or cut previously scheduled raises to discourage you from forming a union. Once you’re organized, you’ll lock in our current wages and benefits and then negotiate improvements from there. All of you will get an opportunity to review your proposed contract before you vote to approve it. Obviously, you’re not going to approve a contract that cuts our wages or benefits.

Management: “The union just wants your dues money.”

Fact: As newly organized Teamsters, you won’t pay dues until you’ve negotiated and voted to approve your first contract—and decided for yourselves whether it’s worth it. Every serious organization—churches, clubs, sporting leagues, and similar organizations—has to have some kind of funding, and unions are no different. Dues pay for the costs of having an organization—contract negotiations, grievances and arbitrations, training for members, legal fees, and other things so no one has to go it alone.

Management: “With a union, you won’t be allowed to talk to your supervisor—you’ll have to go through the union.”

Fact: Teamsters have found that having a union strengthens communication between employees and supervisors. Direct relationships with immediate supervisors continue and you can negotiate to retain any good policy and procedures already in place. The advantage of joining together in a union is that you’re able to make your voices heard at the upper levels of management, where key decisions are made.

Management: “The improvements we’re willing to make right now show that you don’t need a union.”

Fact: It’s great that management is responding to your concerns. It shows that when you join together, your voices are heard. By forming a union, you can make sure this progress is not just short term—you’ll build an ongoing dialogue with management on all your issues. You'll also have peace of mind with a union—since the improvements you agree on will be guaranteed in your union contract.

Keep in mind that it’s normal for some tension to arise when workers start to build a union. But the tension is temporary. After you vote to form a union, management gets used to the idea of you having a voice on the job.

No matter what management says, stay focused on your shared goals—to make your workplace the best possible place to work.

Often when a company is facing a union organizing drive they will hire an outside consultant that specializes in helping businesses to fight unionization efforts. These union-busters are very good at spinning a complex web of mis-information, innuendo, and half-truths in their effort to convince you to stay non-union.

 Next: What Happens After We Go Union?

 


 Interested in talking to someone about organizing your workplace? All communications will be treated with confidentiality and there are no obligations. So please contact Local 81 by phone at (503) 251-2381 or contact us via e-mail.

       

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