Organizing

IBEW the Right Choice

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 self-organization.
  • 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)

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. The Board then sets a date when you vote — by secret  ballot — for the union.
  4. You  vote  –  in  secret —  “Yes” for  union   representation, “No” for  no  union representation.
  5. A simple majority wins.
  6. 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:

  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, and discipline any employee for union activity.
  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 in non-working hours.
  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 an employee  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 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  a  prospective  employee,  during the  hiring   interview, about   his  or   her affiliation  with a labor  organization or how he or she feels about  unions.
  16. Make  anti-union statements or  act  in a way  that  might  show  preference for  a non-union worker.
  17. Make   distinctions  between   union  and   non-union  employees   when   assigning overtime work  or desirable work.
  18. Purposely  team   up   non-union  workers  and   keep   them   apart  from   those supporting the union.
  19. Transfer workers on the basis of union affiliations or activities.
  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 employees.
  22. By  nature of  work   assignments, create   conditions intended  to  get  rid  of  an employee because  of his or her 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 their vote.
  27. Threaten a union  member through a third party.
  28. Promise employees a reward or future benefit if they decide “no union.”
  29. Tell employees overtime work (and premium pay) will be discontinued if the workplace 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 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?

  1. Employees sign IBEW authorization petitions  or cards.
  2. When  a majority of authorizations have been secured, the IBEW  will ask the Employer to recognize your  union.
  3. 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.
  4. The  NLRB  then  sets a date  when  you vote — by secret  ballot —  to  be represented by the IBEW.
  5. 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

OUR CONCERNS UNION NO UNION
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.
Raises. Will be bargained for everyone and everyone votes. Favortism can determine individual raises.
Discipline/Dismissal. 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.
Seniority Rights. Union Contracts give recognition to time of Service. Rights DO NOT exist.
Policies. Remain Consistent. Forever Changing.
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.

 

Management Playbook

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.

 

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Providing Hope and  a Future for All Workers