Welcome. This site will provide accurate information, regarding how to exercise your right to organize and form a union.
Are You Ready?
“No Workers in The Nation Without Representation”
Important facts to become familiar with:
What is the National Labor Relations Board?
The National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency vested with the power to safeguard employees’ rights to organize and to determine whether to have unions as their bargaining representative. The agency also acts to prevent and remedy unfair labor practices committed by private sector employers and unions.
What is the National Labor Relations Act?
Congress approved the National Labor Relations Act in 1935 to encourage a healthy relationship between private-sector workers and their employers, which policy makers viewed as vital to the national interest. The NLRA was designed to curtail work stoppages, strikes and general labor strife, which were viewed as harmful to the U.S. economy and to the nation’s general well-being. The NLRA extends many rights to workers who wish to form, join or support unions, also known as labor organizations, to workers who are already represented by unions; and to workers who join together as a group (two or more employees) without a union seeking to modify their wages or working conditions, which is known as protected concerted activities.
The NLRA also extends rights to employers, protecting commercial interests against unfair actions committed by labor organizations, and extends rights to labor organizations, protecting organizational and collective-bargaining representative interests against unfair actions committed by employers.
The Act outlines basic rights of employees as follows:
To form, join, or assist labor organizations.
To bargain collectively for wages and working conditions through representatives of their own choosing.
To engage in other protected concerted activities with or without a union, which are usually group activities (two or more employees acting together) attempting to improve working conditions, such as wages and benefits.
To refrain from any of these activities. (However a union and employer may, in a State where such agreements are permitted, enter into a lawful union.
How do we form a union, what is the process?
Filing a Petition: If you want a union to represent you at your workplace or if you no longer wish the union that currently represents’ you to continue doing so, the filing of a petition with the NLRB will be the means by which either action can be initiated.
Evidence Needed with a Petition: Generally, in order to file a petition with the NLRB, the petition must be accompanied by evidence demonstrating that the petition has the support of at least 30%, (70%, minimum with the IBEW) of your fellow employees. This support usually will be in the form of dated signatures from interested employees who indicate by individual cards (authorization cards) or signature sheets that they are interested in being represented by a particular union for the purpose of collective bargaining. Authorization cards are strictly confidential and will never be shown to an employer.
Section 9 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
When a majority of authorization cards (70% of the bargaining unit) has been secured, the IBEW will ask the company to recognize your union. (Even though the law only requires 30%, we think it is wise not to ask for recognition with less than 70%. We don’t want to waste your time or our time if we don’t think we can be successful.)
If the company should refuse such recognition, the authorization cards may then be taken to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) where the union files a petition for an election.
The Board then sets a date when you vote — by secret ballot — for the union.
You vote — in secret — “Yes” for union representation, “No” for no union representation.
A simple majority wins.
The Board then certifies the union — and soon thereafter contract negotiations begin with your employer for higher wages, job security and — improved working conditions.
Did you know?
Did you know, your employer cannot:
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.
Tell employees that the company will fire or punish them if they engage in union activity.
Lay off, discharge, and discipline any employee for union activity.
Grant employees wage increases, special concessions or benefits in order to keep the union out.
Bar employee-union representatives from soliciting employees’ memberships on or off the company property in non-working hours.
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.)
Ask an employee what they think about the union or a union representative once the employee refuses to discuss it.
Ask employees how they intend to vote.
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.
Promise benefits to employees if they reject the union.
Give financial support or other assistance to a union.
Announce the company will not deal with the union.
Threaten to close, in fact close, or move plant in order to avoid dealing with a union.
Ask employees whether or not they belong to a union, or have signed up for union representation.
Ask a prospective employee, during the hiring interview, about his or her affiliation with a labor organization or how he or she feels about unions.
Make anti-union statements or act in a way that might show preference for a non-union worker.
Make distinctions between union and non-union employees when assigning overtime work or desirable work.
Purposely team up non-union workers and keep them apart from those supporting the union.
Transfer workers on the basis of union affiliations or activities.
Choose employees to be laid off in order to weaken the union’s strength or discourage membership in the union.
Discriminate against union people when disciplining employees.
By nature of work assignments, create conditions intended to get rid of an employee because of his or her union activity.
Fail to grant a scheduled benefit or wage increase because of union activity.
Deviate from company policy for the purpose of getting rid of a union supporter.
Take action that adversely affects an employee’s job or pay rate because of union activity.
Threaten workers or coerce them in an attempt to influence their vote.
Threaten a union member through a third party.
Promise employees a reward or future benefit if they decide “no union.”
Tell employees overtime work (and premium pay) will be discontinued if the workplace is unionized.
Say unionization will force the company to lay off employees.
Say unionization will do away with vacations or other benefits and privileges presently in effect.
Promise employees promotions, raises or other benefits if they get out of the union or refrain from joining the union.
Start a petition or circular against the union or encourage or take part in its circulation if started by employees.
Urge employees to try to induce others to oppose the union or keep out of it.
Visit the homes of employees to urge them to reject the union.
If you feel that your employer has broken any one of the 35 rules above contact us immediately.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) represents approximately 725,000 members who work in a wide variety of fields, including utilities, construction, professional technical and clerical, telecommunications, broadcasting, manufacturing, railroads and government. The IBEW has members in both the United States and Canada and stands out among the American unions in the AFL-CIO because it is among the largest and has members in so many skilled occupations.
Join the IBEW…the Right Choice!
Providing Hope and a Future for All Workers
IBEW the Right Choice
The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth.
We will try to answer all questions regarding false statements, rumors and the on this page! If you hear something and you would like “The Whole Truth” contact us at: 312-454-1340
This is a video that was sent to us by our friends in Pennsylvania on the history of unions. Enjoy!
This doesn’t really happen,does it?
Union Authorization Cards…The Facts
What is a union authorization?
An authorization is a card or petition signed by an employee indicating his or her desire to form a union at their place of employment. The authorization states that the employee “authorizes a local union of the IBEW to represent them in collective bargaining”. This means that the employee has indicated his or her desire to be represented by the union.
Why is an authorization necessary?
The National Labor Relations Act, the federal labor law that defines employees’ rights to form a union, requires that a majority of employees sign authorizations to prove they want a union before the IBEW can ask for recognition from the Employer.
How does an authorization work?
Employees sign IBEW authorization petitions or cards.
When a majority of authorizations have been secured, the IBEW will ask the Employer to recognize your union.
If the Employer should refuse such recognition, the card may be then taken to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) where the IBEW will file a petition for a secret-ballot election.
The NLRB then sets a date when you vote — by secret ballot — to be represented by the IBEW.
The NLRB then issues a certification – which legally compels the employer to bargain with the IBEW – and soon thereafter, contract negotiations begin with the Employer for the changes the employees through their union want to make.
What else will the authorization be used for?
Nothing else. The only reason for the card is to determine sufficient interest from the employees in seeking collective bargaining with the employer. The IBEW’s policy is that employees should vote, in an election sanctioned by a neutral party, whether they want IBEW representation. Once employees determine that they want the opportunity to vote in an election, the cards are forwarded to the third party (NLRB) to support the employee’s petition.
Will my employer see my authorization?
As long as the IBEW has possession of the cards, the employer will not see the authorizations. If the employer agrees to a card-check, a neutral third party will compare the authorizations to a listing of employees provided by the employer. If the authorizations are not in the possession of the IBEW, however, the IBEW cannot guarantee who sees or doesn’t see the authorizations.
If I don’t believe in joining the IBEW, should I sign an authorization?
The IBEW doesn’t want anyone to sign an authorization unless they truly want to form a union. The decision to sign an authorization is the employee’s choice and the employee’s choice alone. No one should or will be forced to sign an authorization.
Can signing an authorization force a union on the employer?
No. Under Federal law, once the employees decide to seek recognition of their union, the Union must “demand” (legally request) recognition by the employer before the NLRB will intervene on the employees’ behalf. (Why should the government expend taxpayer’s dollars to conduct an election if the employer will voluntarily recognize the employees’ wishes to form a union?) The employer can, and usually does, refuse such voluntary recognition. In some cases, the employer and employees agree to a card-check provision, wherein a neutral third party selected by the IBEW and the employer validates majority support for a union by employees, and the employer then bargains with the IBEW.
The NLRB petition clearly asks if the Union has asked the employer to voluntarily recognize the union. The NLRB rules and procedures are designed to uphold employee free choice in forming a union. If a majority of employees are opposed to forming a union, no union will be formed, according to the NLRB.
The company says I cannot get my card back once I give it to the union. Is this true?
The IBEW’s policy is that any employee who wants to get their authorization revoked prior to an NLRB petition being filed or a card check procedure can get their authorization back without question. Once the authorizations are submitted to the NLRB with the Petition, or a neutral third party in card-check procedures, the NLRB or neutral party has possession of the cards. The IBEW then has no control over the cards.
Signing IBEW Authorization card is the first step to a brighter future!
What about dues?
Not one red cent. That’s right! It will not cost You One Cent to find out what the IBEW can do for you!!
There will be NO DUES until the IBEW negotiates a contract acceptable to us by secret ballot vote. This means as soon as we win our NLRB election, our negotiations will start, but we will pay nothing until IBEW Local 134 delivers the contract. Nor will there be any initiation fee for any current employee. All we need to do is sign a membership application card during the sixty (60) days open charter period following the ratification of our IBEW contract.
The IBEW is the largest union of electrical workers in the country and has been negotiating contracts since long before any of us were born. The IBEW is confident – so confident that it will not cost us even One Red Cent to find out for ourselves. The IBEW says, “The proof is in the contract.”
WHO WILL PAY FOR OUR NEGOTIATIONS? The IBEW WILL!
WHO Will TRAIN OUR OFFICERS AND STEWARDS? The IBEW Will!
WHO WILL PAY FOR OUR CONTRACT RESEARCH? The IBEW WILL!
WHO Will FURNISH SKILLED NEGOTIATORS? The IBEW Will!
And only after the IBEW delivers the contract we want- acceptable by our own vote -will we be asked to start paying dues.
Who Will Be Present at the Negotiations?
We will have your own negotiating committee to go with the IBEW negotiators. It’s the IBEW way.
We Will Be Present – No Secrets.
Q- Management says that the union is just after our dues money. Why should we pay money to the union?
A·Dues are used to run your union and keep it strong. The dues are divided between the local union and the international union. The money is used to provide expert services to your local union, including negotiators, lawyers, economists, and educators; to pay the salaries of officers and staff, including organizers; to provide newsletter and conferences. The local union’s money is used for reimbursing stewards for lost time, for the union hall, and for other expenses of your union.
Did you know that the employer also pays dues to organizations? Employers have their own organizations, such as the Chambers of Commerce or the National Association of Manufacturers. They pay for representation, why shouldn’t you?
Besides, since when is the company so concerned about your money?
Q-How much are Union Dues?
A·The dues will depend upon what the local needs to operate efficiently and effectively. However, the dues will be set by you, as a local union, with the exception of the International portion of the dues, which is set and voted on by all local unions at the International Convention every (5) years. However, no dues are paid until the majority of workers vote to accept a contract that helped to negotiate. All initiations fees will be waived for members in newly organized units.
The Union Advantage
Advantages of Labor Union Membership
Dignity, Rights and Respect.
Must be given at all times
Only given if they like you.
Wages and Other Compensation.
Spelled out in the contract.
SECRET – privately negotiated by management.
Will be bargained for everyone and everyone votes.
Favortism can determine individual raises.
The Union will defend you with Legal Assistance and a Grievance Process.
You are an “AT WILL” employee. Good luck, you’re on your own.
Problems on the Job.
Your VOICE is heard. You have a Grievance Process.
Their way or the highway.
Union Contracts give recognition to time of Service.
Rights DO NOT exist.
A Voice in the Political Arena.
Work for laws to protect Employees and their families.
Take away and weaken laws such as Overtime, Health and Safety, etc.
Just like a football game, union busters follow a playbook. We hope management would choose to avoid an anti-union campaign, but if not here are some plays you can expect:
#1 (Sweep) Get Supervisors involved. Union Busters will secretly “assess” every worker and begin to engage the employees. Expect your supervisor to have one-on-one discussions about the Union (maybe even a personal phone call). Remember, it is your Right to organize and the Company cannot legally ask, you questions about the Union.
#2 (Screen) Create a feeling that workers could have less job security with a union. (The fact is workers with contracts enjoy greater job security, because they are no longer “at-will” employees.)
#3 (Slant) Tell workers they could receive less in collective bargaining. Make it seem like a gamble. (The fact is Union workers receive significantly higher wages and benefits compared to non-union workers. Also, everything you currently have now will be frozen in place unless otherwise negotiated once the employees win their election. You do not start from “zero” or with a blank sheet of paper when negotiating a contract!)
#4 (Off Tackle) Attack the IBEW. Make it sound like unions are corrupt and will make promises/guarantees to the employees, but the company can’t. (The only consistent message and/or promise the IBEW has ever made is: “Workers are stronger when they unite and stand a better chance to improve their wages, benefits and working conditions when they organize.”)
#5 (QB Sneak) Make strikes sound like an everyday occurrence. (The IBEW rarely strikes. Approximately 99% of all IBEW contracts are settled without a strike. IBEW representatives negotiate thousands of contracts every year.)
#6 (Hail Mary) When all else fails, beg! Management will revisit all the items above, including the letters they’ve sent to your house and the meetings they have held, but in the end they will ask for a 2nd chance. (Companies will often “promise to fix everything if only they had more time.” These promises never become realized after the workers vote “no”, and everything returns to business as usual.) An employee’s best choice to improve wages, benefits and working conditions is to organize.)
Let’s face it, Management has had the “ball” too long. They have had many chances to score only to continue making interceptions and fumbles. Besides, our defense has been on the field long enough, it’s time to get our offense in there and put points on the board.
Union Busters……….Just The Facts!
I was going to include this in “The Whole Truth” section of our web site but I have decided that this is an important topic and should have its own page.
When management starts conducting captive audience meetings, it is usually at the request of their “Union Busters”. Management’s “Union Busters” could be outside firms or internal “Labor Specialists” or a combination of both.
“Union Busting” is a $2 Billion Dollar a year industry and as long as employees continue to be mistreated by their employers and try to form a union, “Union Busters” will exist.
“Union Busters” need employees like you! If all employees were happy or belonged to a union, what would all the un-employed “Union Busters” do???
It makes you wonder why employers will spend any amount of money and do whatever it takes to keep you from a forming a union. (keep in mind they charge $750-$2000 per day plus expenses).
What is a union buster?
A union buster is a firm or individual hired by an employer to thwart a union organizing drive by employees.
Why do companies hire union busters?
One simple word … control. With a union, employers lose the ability to totally control the workforce, since employees collectively gain rights with a union.
Why don’t we hear about the union buster?
This is one of the ways a union buster operates – behind the scenes. If you get letters signed by management that imply bad things happening with a union, you can bet that letter was written by a union buster. Also, if a union buster is engaged in direct dealing with employees, the union buster has to file financial reports with the U.S. Department of Labor. Employers do not want public knowledge of their expenditures going to the union busters.
How does the union buster operate?
A union buster seeks to achieve two things: one, to create a sense of dissension arid division among employees during an organizing campaign; and, two, to spread the greatest amount of misinformation about the union possible before an NLRB election.
What are some of the tactics used by the union buster?
Use of Supervisors – Supervisors are the employer’s de-organizing committee in the workplace. Supervisors are made to feel personally responsible if the employees in their department vote for the union. Since in most unorganized companies, employees have no knowledge about unions, the union buster puts fear into the supervisor by implying that his job will be impossible with a union, and if he doesn’t do everything possible to keep the union out, his job may be in jeopardy.
Delay – A union buster will delay the NLRB election by legal maneuvers as long as possible. These tactics include contesting the voting unit sought by the employees, unwillingness to schedule a quick hearing, delay in giving the union the required list of employees until forced to, and opposing any settlement offered by the employees and their union. The union buster knows that the longer he can delay the election, the greater chance that he can place fear in employees, and can win the election for the employer.
One-on-One Meetings – The union buster will have supervisors meet with employees one on one to seek out their union sentiments. The supervisors have the job of convincing employees that the union will be bad for the company.
Captive Audience Meetings – A union buster will have the employer meet with large groups of employees to discredit the union, and create fear of the unknown. Usually, there will be plants in the meetings asking questions prepared in advance by the union buster to show misinformation about the union.
Division – The union buster will make employees feel that there is a tense division among employees concerning the employee election for a union. Employees will be led to believe that this tension will continue forever if a union is chosen by the employees.
Shadowing – A union buster will target employees who he knows he can sway against the union. The union buster will then have supervisor’s shadowing or constantly overseeing that employee to cause fear in that employee about his or her job.
What can I do about the union buster’s tactics?
Remember, the union buster plays off of an employee’s lack of knowledge about a union. Employees can do several things to counter the union buster:
Ask the company if they have hired a union buster – Ask the employer’s representative whether they have hired a “consultant” to work for them to “educate” employees about the union. Ask the employer how much they are paying the consultant. Employers don’t want you to know that they have hired someone to interfere with your rights to organize a union, and you will make them nervous if they have to answer this question. (Most union busters charge anywhere from $750 to $2,000 per day plus expenses for their services).
Document – Have as many employees as possible document everything that a supervisor or manager says to employees, whether to a group of employees or to an individual employee. A union buster will often violate the law in what he says about the union.
Ask questions – If a supervisor makes an implied threat, ask the supervisor or manager point blank what he or she is trying to say. The employer cannot legally make direct threats to employees about union organization.
Ask for the information the union buster presents in writing – Remember, the general, vague information that supervisors and managers are giving you comes directly from the union buster. Ask management for the information that they are presenting to you in writing.
Protect and support each other – If a supervisor is shadowing an employee, band together for support. A union buster can only be effective in creating fear if the employees let him. If employees stand up to the union buster, he cannot be effective.
Ask the IBEW – If you have questions about what the union buster is having management say, contact Local 134 IBEW for answers at: 312-454-1340.