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Why Organize a Union
Posted On: May 23, 2008

WHY ORGANIZE A UNION

WHY ORGANIZE A UNION

 

Without a union, an employer can unilaterally change its employees’ pay, pension, sick leave or vacation accrual time, and even medical insurance benefits.  (Check the fine print in the Company’s handbook). A union contract language stops unilaterally changes.

 

An employer can change virtually anything they choose, such as working conditions, pay level, or even dismiss an employee without just cause. But, in a unionized workplace, management is legally obligated to bargain with the employees’ union over working conditions and level of pay and benefits and may not discipline employees arbitrarily and without due process.

 

A union contract is a legally binding document- signed by both management and the employees’ union-that spells out an employee’s rights and benefits, as well as a process for addressing employee grievances. Right now, the Company won’t give you anything in writing; just ask them.

 

Many workers organize unions to gain some control over their work lives, where many of them spend half or even more of their waking hours. Often, these employees are seeking some way to ensure fairness and dignity on the job. They often find that a great tool for obtaining these goals is a good union contract. The Company knows if there is no contract, they can change or take away anything they want at any time.

 

The employees represented by Local 406, prides itself on achieving contracts that are based on input from everyone in the department. Every department represented by Local 406 has its own negating team.

 

When we join unions, we’re better able to own homes, send our children to college and get the healthcare and retirement security our families need. Some of the highest salaries on Long Island belong to Local 406 members.

 

 

 

 

Some Myths and Facts about Unions:

Myth: Unions are outside, special-interest groups.

Fact: Workers are the union. A union is simply a democratic organization of working people standing up for their rights on the job and in society. Unions also bring people together in the community to stand up for issues that matter to all working people.

 

Myth: Unions mean more conflict in the workplace.

Fact: Unions can make the workplace a more harmonious place to work. A union contract allows the company and workers to sit down as equals and discuss problems as they come up. Without a union, workers’ lives are often in more turmoil because they have to deal with more favoritism and less economic security.

 

Myth: Unions force workers out on strike often.

Fact: Workers vote whether or not to strike. Ninety-seven percent of contract negotiations are settled without a strike. No one ever wants a strike.

 

Myth: Companies close due to unions.

Fact: Companies close for economic reasons- and the vast majority of companies that close are non-union. Some companies, however, like to keep this myth alive. Half of employers illegally threaten workers who form a union by saying the plant will close, though only 1 percent of newly organized plants do close, according to Cornell scholar Kate Bronfenrenner. Studies have shown that, in fact, unions help decrease employee turnover and can increase efficiency.

 

Myth: Unions just want workers’ dues.

Fact: Money that workers pay in dues goes back into running the organization-unions are not for-profit organizations. The improvements workers win in pay, benefits and fair treatment through their unions are far greater than the cost of dues. Dues levels are set by each union through a democratic process.

 

Myth: Most union bosses are corrupt.

Fact: It’s a tragic situation when a trusted leader betrays the membership in any kind of organization. However, for every high-profile story that is in the media about a corrupt union leader, there are tens of thousands of regular, honest leaders who are never profiled. During a union organizing campaign, the employer drags out stories of corruption, never telling the whole story. It’s all part of its campaign of deception.

 

Myth: Unions used to be effective, but they’re not anymore.

Fact: Unions are still by far the best way for working people to win economic security and have a voice on the job. The numbers tell the story: Unions members make 25% percent more in wages than workers who don’t have a union. Women and African American workers with a union make 30% percent more, and that union difference rises to 45% percent for Latino workers. Union members are much more likely to have a defined-benefit pension plan and health care than workers without unions. Unions also curb discrimination on the job, keep the workplace safe and give workers a voice.

 What Unions Do

 

Unions guarantee rewards for hard work and initiative.

 

* Workers with unions earn an average 25 percent more than do workers without                         a union.

* Seventy-three percent of union members in the private industry get health benefits on the job, compared with about half of workers without unions.

* Seventy percent of union members in medium and large private companies are covered by defined-benefit pensions that guarantee a benefit, compared with only 16 percent of workers without a union.

 

Unions help remedy discrimination in the workplace.

 

* Union contracts raise earnings by 30 percent for working women and African americans and 45 percent for Latinos.

*Union contracts help make sure that everyone is treated fairly and equally on the job.

 

Unions raise living standards for the whole community.

 

* For decades, union membership paved the way to a strong and growing middle class. As union membership declined, the gap between the wealthy and everyone else grew.

* Better wages and benefits through unions mean that more families can make it on their own in the community-and the wage and benefit floor is lifted for everyone.

* Studies show that states where many of the workers have union are also states with lower poverty rates, better schools and less crime.

 

Unions make America work better.

 

* Unions raise professional standards. Union workers have a say in decisions that affect the quality of the products they make and the services they deliver. Unions train more workers each year than any organization outside the U.S. Military.

* Studies show that by lowering turnover rates and giving workers a voice in how work is done, unions raise productivity by 19 to 24 percent in manufacturing, 17 to 38 percent in construction and up to 16 percent in hospitals.

* Unions help make sure our nation prioritizes working people’s issues-they hold corporations accountable, make workplaces safe, protect Social Security and retirement, fight for quality health care and make sure working people have time to spend with their families. If unions weren’t out there fighting for these issues, who would be?

 

 

 

WHAT THE “CONSULTANTS/UNION BUSTERS” WILL TELL MANAGEMENT/ADMINISTRATORS TO DO

 

 

 

 

Letter, Letters and More Letters: The “Consultants/Union Busters” will write lots of letters during the campaign. Only, they will be signed not by the “Consultants/Union Busters”, but by the company president, facility/company administrators and some well liked managers and supervisors.

 

 

Love Letters: Some letters will say how much the management/administration really appreciates the work employees have done for the facility/company. Some might even admit past mistakes.

 

 

The Ugly Union Letters: Most of the letters will paint an ugly picture of Local 406 and the GCIU. They want you to think the Union has a lot to hide. They will never give the Union credit for anything it has achieved at other Tribune owned facilities such as (Newsday- NY, Allentown-Pa, Stanford-Con, Baltimore-Ma, and Chicago-IL.)

 


Supervisor Pressure: The “Consultants/Union Busters” will use supervisors as the front line troops against the Union-delivering letters, informal chats and even speeches prepared by the “Consultants/Union Busters”.

 

 

Love Offerings: The “Consultants/Union Busters” will tell management to hand out larger than expected wage increases and/or improved benefits. They might establish or revise employee participation committees. They want to show you that you don’t need a Union to get things done. The point is to convince you that the boss is really a good person who can be trusted in the future.

 

 

A Helping Hand: The “Consultants/Union Busters” will tell management to start correcting problems: Big things and nagging little things will now be fixed. Management will solicit and settle grievances.

 

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  • The ‘Let’s Get America Working!’ campaign seeks to restore a dynamic and prosperous middle class to drive economic growth by helping to advance policy decisions that create and maintain good middle-income jobs, guarantee retirement security, expand access to the American Dream, and ensure that the benefits of the ongoing economic recovery are felt by the many, not just the few.

  • We Are eXPOsing XPO’s Global Greed

    XPO Logistics is a top ten global logistics and transportation company with annual revenue of $15 billion and 89,000 employees, another 10,000 workers classified as independent contractors, and thousands more working for firms that subcontract with XPO. We are the REAL workers at XPO Logistics worldwide exposing the truth about the company’s global greed, illegal wage theft, unsafe conditions, and abhorrent and vicious anti-worker, anti-union tactics. 

    This greed includes mistreating former Con-way Freight workers in the United States who are being kept in the dark about terminal closures and layoffs, and the company’s illegal refusal to bargain contracts and denying their workers’ federally protected right to organize. It also includes port, rail and last-mile drivers around the country and in Southern California fighting wage theft in excess of $200 million because they are misclassified as independent contractors and denied the right to form their union. This greed has caused numerous lawsuits and strikes.  Greed also means an unsafe workplace and mistreating its warehouse employees.

    XPO’s greed extends to Europe beginning with breaking its promise to not layoff any workers for at least 18 months. French workers and the unions have been fighting back against XPO’s disrespect, lies and attempts to slash jobs. Similar struggles are taking place in Great Britain, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, and across Europe.

    Join the worldwide struggle now! Get involved with this campaign by joining the Facebook group “XPO Exposed.”

    Together, we can eXPOse the company’s global greed and win fairness, respect and dignity for tens of thousands of XPO employees around the world!

  • This webpage provides information on the Teamsters Union’s legislative advocacy at both the federal and state level as well as our field activity to support those policy positions and to get strong labor candidates elected to office.  Among other resources, you will find our federal legislative scorecard, formal statements of policy position and communications to Capitol Hill,  a weekly update on federal legislative happenings, an overview of bills we are tracking at the state level, and quick links to take action on priority issues.

  • Negotiations for the National Master Automobile Transporters Agreement (NMATA) recently concluded and a tentative agreement has been reached. On Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 representatives from carhaul local unions met in Detroit to endorse the National Agreement and the Central-Southern Supplement, paving the way for members to vote. The Eastern and Western Supplements were approved in 2016, and will not be re-voted. However, all carhaul members will get to exercise their right to vote on the National Agreement and General Monetary Changes.

    Ballots will be mailed out on or about March 10 and are tentatively scheduled to be counted on March 30.

    The tentative agreement is from September 1, 2015, until May 31, 2021.

  • The IBT-Airline Division has established this page as a place to get up-to-date information about the Republic Airways Holdings (RAH) bankruptcy.  Please check here for the latest information about the bankruptcy.

  • Workers’ pensions are being endangered by both Congress and those charged with overseeing them. The Teamsters and our members are standing united to say “No!” to cuts and “Yes!” to greater retirement security!

  • The Teamsters Union represents more than 250,000 members at UPS and UPS Freight. UPS remains an active member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) despite the organization’s anti-worker and anti-union agenda that seeks to undermine and weaken worker protections.

  • This web page provides information on our fight against fast-track legislation. The measure requires Congress to take only a quick up-or-down vote on secret trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and does not allow such agreements to be amended. It limits Congress’ constitutionally mandated oversight of such trade deals and lets others decide what’s best for America. The result is fewer good-paying U.S. jobs and unsafe food and products for Americans. Read more to find out why fast track is the wrong track for Teamsters and America.

  • Workers across the country at FedEx Freight and Con-way Freight are standing shoulder to shoulder to form their unions with the Teamsters to win a more secure future. Momentum is building with a first wave of victories with many more to come.

    There is growing worker resentment toward the companies after years of being treated unfairly. While the companies have suddenly made improvements since workers began to organize, workers know that without a legally binding contract the company can take these things away at any time.

    The unfulfilled promises that have been made to drivers and dockworkers over the past decade are coming back to haunt management.

    But now workers are taking action and standing up for themselves by forming their union. It's a different era now. It's Teamster Time! LIKE our Facebook page, here.

  • Teamsters are been standing together to protect good jobs at Sysco and US Foods. Our solidarity on many fronts helped to defeat the mega-merger of the two companies, which would have put thousands of jobs at risk. But challenges remain as both companies refine their plans. Join our campaign to ensure these foodservice giants honor their agreements with 11,500 Teamsters and help us bring more Sysco and US Foods workers into the Teamster family. LIKE our Facebook page, here.

     

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