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  • Organizing: Benefits for the Employee and the Employer

    What is Organizing?

    Organizing is the process of turning a non-union workplace into a union workplace. Instead of workers being alone in their negotiations with their employers, all of the workers are represented together by the union. The workers have a direct say in what is important in the employment contract negotiations. When this happens, all of the employees in the workplace are represented under a "Collective Bargaining Agreement". This CBA describes the responsibilities of the employer and the employee. The employee is no longer subject to random "employee handbook" and policy changes, and is no longer alone during problem negotiations. A CBA puts the employees at the same level as the employer.

    The basic premise of organizing is that more voices saying the same thing is more powerful than one voice, no matter how expert. Employees nationwide are struggling with economic and workload issues: whether a Janitor, Home Care Worker, Security Guard, Nurse, Police Officer, Fire Fighter, Construction Worker, Office Worker, or any worker who is mistreated in the workplace each day; each are turning to labor unions for organizing.

    Unions such as the IATSE are truly designed for the career professional. Unions help organize educational opportunities, health benefits, vacation benefits, and retirement benefits. Unions also police workplace safety and worker rights.

    Though most organization campaigns are initiated by the employees, employers also benefit from an organized workforce. Employers know they have a source to issue complaints to, and that the union will investigate all employee complaints. Employers benefit from having easy access to qualified, safe, and educated employees. By placing a single phone call, an employer can have an entire crew setup and know that crew will be professional and experienced.


    Employers: Why Organizing Helps You
    Jul 05, 2007

    Many organization campaigns are initiated by the employees. Unfortunately, this can sometimes create a difficult relationship between the employees and management. Sometimes, people feel they are fighting an "Us & Them" battle. However, employers have the ability to create a more positive relationship with their employees by recognizing their voice and initiating union negotiations.

    The way you decide to structure relations with your staff is an important decision. If you recognize a trade union, it will benefit your business when you enjoy a good working relationship with them. You may also benefit from union expertise on issues such as health and safety, drawing up disciplinary procedures, training, etc.

    Download this flyer on the many benefits employers can enjoy with employer union organization

    Union workplaces have shown over and over again that employee production and participation are always higher because of their union involvement. Even if you find that your hourly costs may seem higher, in the end you save money by having more qualified, educated, safe, and active employees in the workplace. Download this article showing the high performance benefits of union organization.

    Will my employees be replaced?

    Absolutely not! We do not replace working employees with "senior" members or any other members. Our venue-based hiring system ensures that your employees stay with your company as long as they want to. There is also an extra benefits: Access for your employees to get work elsewhere while your facility is slow, and access to additional part-time crews when your facility is busy!

    You no longer have to worry about trying to keep your employees working during slow time. If you don't have work for them, they can take other calls with Local 122 until you have work available for them again. Your employees are happier and financially stable without putting extra cost on your company during low-income times.

    If times suddenly get real busy, it is simply a matter of one phone call and IATSE Local 122 will take care of your crew requirements. You don't have to commit to keeping a large workforce on the payroll for any longer than you need to, and your employees are still able to sustain a valuable way of life.

    The effects and benefits of union recognition

    Although some employers prefer to use non-union methods, there can be advantages in recognizing and co-operating with a union. It can act as a focus for communication and consultation and help build a good working relationship between management and the workforce. However, it also imposes certain obligations on the employer.

    One point of call
    Having a single body for negotiating terms and conditions for employees is simpler than organizing separate fragmented arrangements among individuals. However, once you've agreed this approach to negotiations, you will need to work through these channels.

    Employee involvement
    If your employees can discuss pay, conditions and other issues with you through their union, they are likely to feel more involved in the way the business is being run. Simply having this officially recognized system of on-the-record dialogue with the owners or managers of the business can encourage trust and commitment among the work force.

    The union will also be able to represent the workforce at difficult times when emotions can run high, for example, if you need to make redundancies or sell the business.

    You may also be able to make better-informed decisions with the benefit of constructive input from workers who have the relevant skills and knowledge.

    Wider experience
    Unions are likely to have a broader perspective on many issues. They represent not only the workers in your business, but many others in similar, related organizations. If you can show the union representatives that you appreciate the interests of your employees, they in turn may help get your message across to their members.

    Even unpopular decisions may be more acceptable to your employees if you can persuade them and their union that a change is necessary for the continued health of the business.

     

    Rights to trade union membership

    Introduction

    A trade union is an organization of workers that seeks to protect and advance the interests of its members by negotiating with employers on pay and conditions of work. Unions may also provide legal advice, financial assistance, sickness benefits and education facilities to their members.

    There can be advantages to employers if their staff are in a union:

    • It can be easier to communicate, consult and negotiate with one body than with several individuals
    • unions can help with safety issues in the workplace
    • they can help to organize training and development
    • they can help to improve staff morale and commitment

    An employer cannot refuse to employ someone on the basis of their membership or non-membership of a trade union. This guide aims to explain the basic rights of trade union members, non-members, union officials, union learning representatives and other types of employee representatives.

    Rights of trade union members and non-members

    Employees have the legal right not to be penalized on the grounds of trade union membership or non-membership.

    Employers cannot legally:

    • refuse to employ an individual because they are, or want to be, a member of a trade union
    • refuse to employ an individual because they do not, or do not want to, belong to a union
    • dismiss or make redundant employees for belonging to a union or for refusing to join one.
    • penalize or discriminate against an employee, eg by refusing or failing to offer promotion or training because of their membership of a trade union
    • campaign unfairly against a workforce's decision to recognize a trade union, eg by offering monetary inducements or imposing sanctions

    Whilst employers may choose to voluntarily recognize a trade union, they may be compelled to do so in some circumstances if this is the wish of the majority of their workforce.

    Rights to time off
    Members of a recognized trade union have rights to reasonable time off to take part in trade union activities at an appropriate time.

    • The activities must relate to matters where the union is recognized by the employer. However, industrial action does not count as a union activity.
    • An appropriate time may be either outside a union member's normal working hours, or during working hours if the employer has agreed. The time is unpaid.
    • Reasonable time off normally means time off that is reasonable in all the circumstances of the business, including the effect of the employee's absence on the business.

    Right of complaint
    Employees can complain to an employment tribunal if they think that they have been unlawfully refused employment or have been penalized in some other way because of their membership or non-membership of a trade union. They can also complain if they think they have been dismissed for union activities, membership or non-membership or if they have not been permitted reasonable time off for union activities. Trade union officials have additional protection for carrying out their union duties.

    Rights of union officials

    A trade union official may be a paid full-time official of the union or an employee who has been appointed by the union to represent its members in the workplace.

    Duties may include:

    • recruiting, organizing and representing members of a trade union, either individually or collectively
    • attending meetings with members of the workforce and management
    • negotiating with the employer on terms and conditions of employment or matters of discipline

    Rights to time off
    Employers must give officials of a recognized union reasonable paid time off:

    • to carry out their union duties, eg meeting with the employer to discuss terms and conditions or accompanying employees to disciplinary and grievance hearings
    • for training related to union duties
    • for union learning representatives (ULRs) to carry out their functions and undertake training

    Employers must give union officials and members reasonable unpaid time off for carrying out other union activities, not directly related to the workplace, and using the services of a ULR.

    Rights of union learning representatives

    Union learning representatives (ULRs) have the same status as union shop stewards and are allowed paid time off to discharge their duties.

    Union learning representatives are:

    • representatives of a recognized union who provide advice to union members about their training, educational and developmental needs
      elected or appointed in accordance with the union's rules
      trained in line with a statutory training conditions
      notified to the employer in writing

    Rights of ULRs
    ULRs have a legal right to reasonable paid time off during working hours to carry out their duties, which may include:

    • undertaking relevant training
    • analyzing the learning or training needs of union members
    • providing information and advice on learning or training
    • arranging learning or training
    • consulting the employer about learning and training
    • preparing for the above

    A ULR does not have a negotiating role.

    Advantages for employers
    ULRs can be a source of expert advice. They cost the employer comparatively little and can help with identifying the training needs of staff and encouraging a learning culture within the company.

    Rights of various employee representatives

    An organization may have different types of employee representative as well as trade union representatives.

    These may include:

    • health and safety representatives
    • pensions trustees
    • representatives in the case of redundancies and transfers
    • members of works councils

    If a union is recognized by the employer, the employer must consult representatives appointed by the recognized trade union on matters affecting the groups of employees they represent, including:

    union safety representatives

    • elected representatives in a non-unionized workplace, or where there are none, the employees themselves
    • This consultation must cover safe working practices and the basic health, safety and welfare rights of employees.
    • Representatives should also be consulted in the event of contact with the Health & Safety Executive.

    Both union and non-union safety representatives have the right to:

    • paid time off to carry out their role and undergo training provided by the employer
    • raise issues with the employer that affect the health and safety of members
    • facilities and support from the employer to carry out inspections and risk assessments
    • receive legal and technical information from the employer

    Advantages of employee representatives
    Having formally appointed representatives can greatly benefit you as an employer.

    Health and safety representatives are required by regulations and having people as permanent appointments allows for proper training. Pension trustees usually benefit from having an employee representative among them and many schemes require at least one to be on the board. You may find it useful to have known representatives to talk to about problems and developments within the workplace. This helps both formal and informal communications.

     


    Employees: How to Organize Your Work Place
    Jul 05, 2007

    Getting union representation is the best way to gain the working conditions that you and your co-workers deserve. With a union, you have the legal right to bargain over your pay, benefits, employment security, health and safety, and retirement, etc. A union also gives you the ability to negotiate over company policies that affect promotions, job bidding, layoffs, and many other aspects of your job.

    Interested in organizing a union in your workplace? A union is simply a majority of employees who join together to better their work lives.

    Know Your Rights

    Under the National Labor Relations Action (NLRA) you have the legal right to form a union in your workplace. The NLRA says:

    • Section 7: "Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representation of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining . . . ."
    • Section 8(a): "It shall be an unfair labor practice for an employer . . . to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in section 7. . . ."

    It is Your Legal Right as an Employee to:

    • Join a union of your choosing.
    • Attend a union meeting on your own time.
    • Sign a union card or get others to sign cards.
    • Talk to a union organizer.
    • Declare yourself a union supporter.
    • Assist in forming a union.
    • Talk union to other employees.
    • Wear union buttons or pass out union literature.
    • Join together and work as a team in order to help each other.
    • Deal with their employer as a group, rather than individually.
    • Take group action as necessary in order to gain desired goals so long as these actions violate no other laws.

    It does not mean that Employees have the Right to:

    • Carry on union activity during working hours or to allow their union activity to interfere with their jobs. (For this purpose, break time and lunch time are not considered as working hours).

    Even though it is illiegal for employers to hinder your interest in the union, many employers strongly resist their employees' efforts to gain a voice at work through unionization. See a list of some of the many illiegal activities that employers will engage in to sway votes against a union. many employers strongly resist their employees' efforts to gain a voice at work through unionization. So, before you start talking union with your employers, get in contact with IATSE 122 officials right away to make sure your rights are protected.

    Getting Started

    To get a union started, the first thing you need to do is quietly talk to your co-workers. Do they share the same concerns you have? Or, do they have other issues? Is there a common theme to these concerns such as lack of respect and dignity; lack of a voice in the workplace; unfair treatment; and/or wages and benefits lower than other people working in the same industry?

    Contact IATSE Local 122

    Our experience tells us that it's best when workers organize themselves if they are to create a viable organization in their workplace. IATSE organizers and staff will help. After talking with your co-workers to find out their issues, you should contact IATSE Local 122 to talk with a union organizer. He or she will set up a meeting with you and some of your co-workers. Together, you will create a plan for a organizing a union in your workplace.

    A Typical Organizing Campaign

    The campaign will consist of talking with co-workers about the union, asking them to sign a petition of support. When there is a majority of support (Over 50% of employees have signed the petition of support), the union will file for an election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Usually, the NLRB will then meet with the union and the employer to establish the criteria for employees who will be eligible to vote in the union election. The NLRB sets a date for a secret ballot election.

    What You Can Do

    Under Section 7 of the NLRA, you have the legal right to:

    1. Attend meetings to discuss joining a union.
    2. Read, distribute, and discuss union literature (as long as you do this in non-work areas during non-work times, such as during breaks or lunch hours).
    3. Wear union buttons, t-shirts, stickers, hats, or other items on the job.
    4. Sign a card asking your employer to recognize and bargain with the union.
    5. Sign petitions or file grievances related to wages, hours, working conditions, and other job issues.
    6. Ask other employees to support the union, to sign union cards or petitions, or to file grievances.

    Bargaining A Contract

    After the union's election victory is officially certified by the NLRB, your employer is legally required to negotiate in "good faith" with the union on a written contract covering wages, hours, and other working conditions. At this point, the IATSE business agent and staff will consult with you and your co-workers about what is important for you to gain in a collective bargaining agreement and what you are willing to bend on. Negotiating is a give-and-take process, however the IATSE will always take the primary interest of the employees first.


    Know_Your_Rights
    Jul 17, 2007

    Organize_FAQ
    Jul 11, 2007

    Organizing_Terms
    Jul 22, 2007

    Information for Employees New to Unionization
    Jul 22, 2007

    Employee Free Choice Act
    Jun 22, 2008

    Join the

    Million Member Mobilization


    We’re teaming up with hundreds of organizations
    and unions to launch a
    massive campaign—
    the Million Member Mobilization.

    Add your name to the petition and add your voice to this growing movement.  Help us meet our goal of one million signatures!


    A robust middle class.  Economic growth and shared prosperity.  The American Dream.  None are possible unless workers have the free choice to bargain for a better life—in their workplaces and in our nation.

    That’s why we need the Employee Free Choice Act—critical legislation that would restore workers' freedom to form unions and bargain for better wages, health care, and working conditions—and have a voice in our economy.

    We’re teaming up with hundreds of organizations and unions to launch a massive campaign—the Million Member Mobilization.

    We're going to show the new President and Congress that there are one million people who want to give hardworking families a chance to get ahead.  Can you be one of the first?

    Click here to sign the petition for the Employee Free Choice Act.

    Why is this bill so important?  It's plain as day: workers are struggling in this country.

    The playing field is tilted in favor of lavishly-paid CEOs, who get golden parachutes while middle class families get stuck holding the bag.  The Employee Free Choice Act can restore the balance, giving workers freedom to form unions and bargain for better a life – and an opportunity to pursue their dreams.

    Corporate interests are fighting the Employee Free Choice Act with everything they’ve got.  They’re protecting the status quo—a rigged system which allows them to intimidate, harass, and even fire workers who try to form a union.  We're not talking about isolated incidents: 30% of employers illegally fire workers who try to form unions.

    It’s time our economy worked for everyone again.  It’s time for Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act.

    Add your name to the petition and add your voice to this growing movement.  Help us meet our goal of one million signatures! You can go to: http://freechoiceact.org/aflcio to sign the petition.

    When you sign, be sure to upload your picture, too.  We'll share it with lawmakers so they can see the faces of everyone who cares about this issue.

    Together, we can change the law, change the economy, and change our futures for the better.
     
    In solidarity,

    Working Families e-Activist Network, AFL-CIO


    P.S. Help spread the word about the real John McCain. Please encourage others you know to visit the AFL-CIO McCain Revealed online briefing book by forwarding this message.


    Union busting is big business
    Jul 14, 2007



    Page Last Updated: Jul 30, 2007 (10:00:00)
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