A union is an organization of workers in a company, which strives to protect the interests of the employees and provides protection against any form of employment discrimination and unfair practices and treatment. The National Labor Relations (NLRB) is the main government arm that facilitates the unionization of a workplace. Forming a union is a thorough process, so here is a step-by-step guide that can help you.
- Find out if your industry or line of work is a potential candidate for unionization. There are certain lines of work or trades that NLRB recognizes for unionization, and there are others that are not covered by the said agency. Therefore, before you set out and form a union, first contact the NLRB and see if your trade can be unionized.
- Ensure that your co-workers agree on the idea of forming a union. The show of interest among your co-workers to form a union in your workplace is very important. Therefore, talk with all the segments of the employees and find out if forming a union is agreeable to them. At least 30% of the employees must sign the Authorization cards, otherwise known as A Cards, to signify this interest. These cards should then be sent to the NLRB for assessment and review. The NLRB will have to validate that the names in the authorization cards are indeed employees of the company.
- Campaign for the union. Realize that the management will in some way discourage the employees to agree on forming a union. Your task here now is to actively campaign and promote the union. In detail, inform the employees of the advantages of having a union, educate them of their legal rights to have one, and prove to them that the union will work for their interests.
- Get ready for the election. After the assessment and review, the NLRB will schedule an election in your workplace to find out the percentage of the employees who are in favor of unionization. This election aims to get at least 50% of the votes. NLRB will facilitate the election and count the votes right after closing the polls.
- Get an NLRB certification. If the turnout of votes agrees to form a union, the NLRB will secure you with a certification, making your union official. By this time, the union officials, who should have been elected after the completion of the unionization process, should take their positions as representatives of the employees.
- Make a contract with the employers. Once the union is declared official, your employers are mandated to agree on a contract with your union, which should express the employers’ recognition of the union and detail all aspects of your employment. The contract also declares that the union’s opinions and inputs should be sought whenever a major decision, which might affect the employees in one way or another, is to be made.
In case the process gets somewhat complicated, involving critical issues that the employees and employers might not agree on, consider getting the help of a labor attorney. You can also contact labor protection organizations.