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Why Go Union? What Is A Union?
Article written by JC#3:
What is a union?
A union is a group of employees who join together within a company to bargain collectively for better wages, stronger benefits and safer working conditions.
What do unions do?
A union's primary objective is to secure good contracts for its members and to enforce the provisions of that contract. The union also administers some of the contract's important benefits directly. Often these include health plans, pensions and labor/management partnerships and trusts.
How do you organize with the Teamsters?
Employees who want to join the Teamsters sign a "union authorization card." When a majority of employees sign cards, they are forwarded, in most cases, to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB then schedules and conducts a secret ballot election. In some cases, when a majority of workers sign cards the company will recognize the union.
When the union is certified, the company is required by law to bargain over wages, benefits and working conditions. The laws governing public sector and the airline industry are different.
If I sign an authorization do I have to vote yes in the election? What if I change my mind?
The Teamsters are committed to organizing workers that want Teamster representation. Organizing is not about holding a vote; it is about gaining a voice in the workplace.
When the NLRB conducts a union election it's a secret ballot. No one has any right to know how you voted.
How does the union work out problems with management?
Through the grievance procedure: The contract spells out what the grievance procedures are and explains how conflicts are to be resolved.
When management engages in unfair conduct or violate a provision of the contract there are steps spelled out in the contract to resolve the problem. First, talk with your supervisor. When he or she refuses to do anything about it, go to your Teamster shop steward for help. The steward sits down with you and management and tries to talk about the issue. If it can't be resolved at this meeting, a business agent from the union approaches the company to discuss the issue. If the problem still cannot be resolved to everyone's satisfaction, the business agent appeals to upper management. If this step fails, both parties bring in a neutral arbitrator to hear evidence and order a final resolution of the problem.
What are shop stewards and business agents?
A shop steward is one of your co-workers, who acts as an agent of the union in the workplace. The union membership and the Teamster local union determines procedures for electing shop stewards and negotiates how many stewards are in each job location, shift and department. The steward's job is to make sure your company lives up to your contract. When there is a problem with management and you need union help, your first stop should be a visit with your shop steward.
A business agent is an official of your local union who handles any problems the shop steward cannot.
What is a "bargaining unit"?
A bargaining unit is made up of all the employees who are eligible to vote for and be in the union.
Who negotiates your contract?
The Teamsters and the company each choose their own negotiators. The company's team is usually comprised of lawyers, local management and upper management officials. The union team usually consists of bargaining unit employees and expert union negotiators.
What kind of say do I get in the contract?
Before contract talks start, the union asks you what you'd like to see in a contract. Usually the union sends out a survey to all a bargaining unit's members. Once the contract has been negotiated it's submitted to you and your co-workers for ratification. If a majority doesn't approve of the contract, your negotiating team goes back to the drawing board.
How long do contracts last?
Usually 3 to 5 years.
What are union dues? What are they used for?
Union dues are the money you pay to the union to help pay for support staff, legal costs, negotiation costs, arbitrator's fees, etc.
What's a "local"?
The Teamsters have a structure that includes a national body, intermediaries, and local unions. Most decisions are made at the state and local union level.
So what does the "International" do?
The International's responsibilities include; lobbying Congress for laws that benefit workers, sending help to locals that need it and coordinating national organizing efforts.
How democratic are unions?
The whole process is open and democratic. You decide if you want to sign an authorization card. You decide whether to vote "yes" on joining the union. You decide which co-workers you want on your negotiating team. You decide what to tell your negotiators you want in a contract. You vote on the contract once it's negotiated. You vote on who will be your shop steward. You vote on who will be the officers of your local.
Organize To Protect Your Future and Your Families Future!
The condition of the economy brings about uncertainty for all of our futures. Talk with your co-workers during break, at lunch, before or after work see what their feelings are about uniting to protect one another.
The membership is the backbone of any union. With the Teamsters Union, our structure enables one person one vote, at every level, including the vote for International General President.
United workers make up the union, along with experienced and knowledgeable leadership. The Teamsters have some of the best contracts in the country, negotiated by talented professionals after many hours with the member negotiating committee. If you agree that joining the Teamsters will be in the best interest for the workers at your job site, a unified voice that promotes respect on the job, better working conditions, fair wages, benefits, job security, etc. all of which will be spelled out in your labor agreement, then Please Click Here To Contact Us. Let Us Help You Organize Your Workplace Today!
Know Your Rights!
You have the right to:
A Safe Workplace
Employers are required to provide a workplace free of recognized health and safety hazards. You have the right to file complaints with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, to bring job safety hazards to your employer’s attention without retaliation and to get information from your employer about hazardous workplace exposures.
Employers must pay you overtime at the rate of one-and-a-half times the normal rate of pay if you work more than 40 hours in a week. However, many workers—such as managers, professionals and certain sales employees—are exempt from overtime pay.
Employers may not pay unequal wages to men and women who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility, and that are performed under similar working conditions within the same company.
Family and Medical Leave
You have the right to up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave on the birth or adoption of a child, to care for seriously ill family members or to recover from your own illness. To be eligible for this leave, you must have worked for 12 months and for at least 1,250 hours for the same employer with more than 50 employees.
A Workplace Without Discrimination
No employer can discriminate in hiring, firing, pay or promotions based on:
- Age—The law protects workers 40 and older.
- Disability—Employers must make reasonable accommodations for an otherwise qualified person with a disability to do his or her job.
- Race, color, ethnicity or national origin.
- Immigrant status—It is illegal to refuse to hire someone because of an accent or because that person was born in a foreign country. Employers have a duty to verify that every worker hired is authorized to work, but it is illegal to assume that a worker is undocumented just because he or she has a foreign name, speaks with an accent or was born in another country.
A Workplace Without Sexual Harassment
It is illegal to be forced to agree to sexual favors to keep your job or get a promotion or job benefit. It also is illegal to be subjected to severe and pervasive comments or behavior at your workplace that create a hostile work environment.
Join or Form a Union
You have the legal right to join or support a union and negotiate contracts with your employer. You have the right to decide for yourself whether you want union representation, free from employer intimidation and interference.
Unemployment benefits are available to jobless workers who can prove they have been in the labor force and meet other requirements imposed by their states and the federal government.
- To file a safety and health complaint, call OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). Contact your state workers’ compensation board for information about workplace injury compensation. To file overtime pay or Family Medical Leave Act complaints, call the U.S. Department of Labor at 1-866-4USWAGE (487-9243).
- To file equal pay or discrimination complaints, call the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at 1-800-669-4000 (1-800-669-6820 for TTY).
- If you’ve been sexually harassed, write down a record of the harassment incidents. Follow your employer’s internal complaint procedure. To file charges with the EEOC, call 1-800-669-4000.
- If you’ve been threatened, transferred or fired because of your union activity, contact the National Labor Relations Board at 1-866-667-NLRB (6572) to file charges.
- To file for unemployment benefits, contact your state unemployment office.
Know Your Rights!
January 17, 2013- Article Written By the IBT
The Anti-Discrimination Provision Of The Immigration And Nationality Act (INA)
The U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division has an office dedicated to ensuring that employers are not discriminating against work-authorized individuals based on their national origin or immigration status. It is unlawful to fire or refuse to hire certain workers because of where they are from or because they are not U.S. citizens. The law also protects workers where employers discriminate against them by asking for too many work-authorization documents or by rejecting valid documents.
Q: How can I tell if an employer is violating the law?
A: An employer may be discriminating based on citizenship or national origin in employment if the employer:
Specifically asks a worker for a “green card.”
Asks certain workers for more documents than needed to complete the I-9 form.
Rejects valid work authorization documents.
Refuses to allow certain workers to begin working based on a name and Social Security number no-match.
Refuses to hire refugees and asylees because they don’t have Social Security numbers or green cards.
Only hires U.S. citizens (unless that policy is specifically required by law).
Asks certain workers for work authorization documents before offering them jobs.
Fires work-authorized workers for lying about their prior undocumented status, but has not fired other workers for lying about different aspects of their background.
Q: What about E-Verify?
A: An employer’s use of E-Verify may be discriminatory if the employer treats workers differently during the E-Verify process based on national origin or citizenship or immigration status, such as if it:
Runs certain workers through E-Verify before offering them jobs.
Asks certain workers to run themselves through E-Verify’s Self Check.
Uses E-Verify to check only some, but not all, new workers.
Refuses to allow certain workers to contest “tentative nonconfirmations” (TNCs).
Refuses to allow certain workers to work while contesting TNCs.
Q: What should I do if I think I or someone I know has been discriminated against in hiring or firing based on national origin or citizenship status?
A: Call the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) at the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice on its Worker Hotline at 1-800-255-7688, 9am-5pm, E.S.T. (TTY for the hearing impaired: 1-800-237-2515).
You do not have to provide your name, and telephone interpreters are available in many languages as needed. It is unlawful to intimidate, threaten, or retaliate against anyone for contacting the Hotline, assisting in any way in an investigation, or filing a charge with OSC.
For more information, to obtain outreach materials or a charge form, or to learn about OSC’s new worker webinars call the Hotline or visit http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc.
Do We Really Need Unions In America?What Do Unions Do For Me?
By Teamsters492.org Webmaster, Trey White
I am always amazed when I hear some say to me, “I don’t need the Union; I do my job!” That may be true, you may be the best at your job and never do anything wrong, but the Union still helps you in ways you probably are not aware of or are thankful for because they have always been there for you so you feel that’s just normal.
If you work in a Union job, you are most likely benefiting from higher wages and benefits like paid retirements, paid holidays and the big one these days; paid insurance. Even if you have to pay a little towards some of these things, you are still probably better off than your non-union counter-parts. You may not have chosen to work there because it is a Union job, but the reasons that you do work there were more than likely made possible by the very Union you don’t think you need.
The fact is; Unions raise the wages and benefits for everyone in this country, even non-union workers. The non-union competitors must keep their wages fair because if they don’t, two things will happen the non-union company does not want; first the employees will start to leave and then the remaining employees will start reaching out to Unions to organize them, we see this all the time. Companies do not want either to happen, so they try to keep their employees just happy enough to avoid it. But if there were no Unions, there would be no threat. Then wages, benefits and overall working conditions would drop.
The decline of membership in Unions coincides with the decline in middle-class income:
If you are still not convinced, read the list of benefits below that most Americans take advantage of, (even management) that would not exist if not for Unions making them happen.
Did you know that labor unions made the following 36 things possible?
- Weekends off
- All breaks at work, including your lunch breaks
- Paid vacation
- Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Sick leave
- Social Security
- Minimum wage
- Civil Rights Act/Title VII - prohibits employer discrimination
- 8-hour work day
- Overtime pay
- Child labor laws
- Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA)
- 40-hour work week
- Workers' compensation (workers' comp)
- Unemployment insurance
- Workplace safety standards and regulations
- Employer health care insurance
- Collective bargaining rights for employees
- Wrongful termination laws
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
- Whistleblower protection laws
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) - prohibits employers from using a lie detector test on an employee
- Veteran's Employment and Training Services (VETS)
- Compensation increases and evaluations (i.e. raises)
- Sexual harassment laws
- Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Holiday pay
- Employer dental, life, and vision insurance
- Privacy rights
- Pregnancy and parental leave
- Military leave
- The right to strike
- Public education for children
- Equal Pay Acts of 1963 & 2011 - requires employers pay men and women equally for the same amount of work
- Laws ending sweatshops in the United States