What is a Union and why does it matter?

A Union is a group of people working together to improve their work lives through collective bargaining.

What difference does a Union make?

Having a Union means that you can collectively meet and negotiate with management over any issues that affect you and your job, including wages, benefits, and working conditions. A Union contract is a legally binding document where these agreements are put in writing. Having a Union gives you a stronger voice in working with management to make the company stronger, more prosperous, and a better place to work.

Who runs the Union?

You do. The Union is a democracy at every level. You elect your negotiating committee and leadership for the local, district, and international union. Our Union is made up of thousands of people like you – standing together to make a difference.

Aren’t there already laws that protect us?

Laws governing employment, safety, discrimination, and overtime all exist because millions of Union members fought for them. A Union grievance process ensures that everyone is treated fairly and equally, without favoritism and discrimination. A Union contract, with the aid of Union resources and staff, ensures that these laws and rules are enforced.

Know Your Rights

Did you know there are federal laws in place to protect workers interested in forming a union? It’s true. You may be surprised to learn that many activities, some even on company property, are completely protected by our federal government.

  • You have the right to distribute union flyers and brochures in non-work areas during breaks and lunch.
  • You have the right to wear union buttons, stickers, T-shirts and hats to show your colors.
  • You have the right to sign a UWUA membership card and demand company recognition of the union.
  • You have the right to petition and join with co-workers to protest unfair treatment or demand improvements in wages, hours or working conditions.
  • You have the right to organize fellow employees, support the union, and distribute literature and membership cards to be signed.
  • You have the right to file complaints against your company.
  • You have the right to participate in meetings to discuss joining a Union.

United States National Labor Relations Act

Section 7:  “Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representation of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining …”

What Your Boss Can’t Do

  • Your boss cannot favor employees who oppose the union over ones who support it. Favoritism includes promotions and special treatment.
  • Your boss cannot threaten to close your place of employment or take away benefits because you and other co-workers support joining a union.
  • Your boss cannot promise raises or other favorable treatment if you oppose participating in a union.
  • Your boss cannot ask you your opinion of the union.
  • You cannot be fired, laid-off, disciplined, harassed, transferred or reassigned for supporting a union.

United States National Labor Relations Act Section 8 (a)

“It shall be an unfair labor practice for an employer …to interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of rights guaranteed in Section 7…”