I want to join the IAM. Where do I start?
Step 1: Get together with other co-workers who would like to see a union at your place of work.
Step 2: Contact us!
Step 3: We’ll talk to you about the legal process of forming a union and help you strategize on how to get more of your co-workers involved.
Step 4: Build support for a union. This is done a number of ways. We will provide you with the support and knowledge to talk to your co-workers about the IAM, collective bargaining and what it means to live union. We will also host periodic meetings in which you can invite your co-workers.
Step 5: Hold a Union Election
Wait, there’s an election? How does that work?
If there is enough interest among your group, the IAM will file a “Petition” for representation with The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Interest is typically gauged by the percentage of workers who have signed authorization cards. A “hearing” is then needed to define the “unit”. The company and the IAM need to determine who among the group of employees are to be represented by the union. There are certain individuals such as Supervisors that may not belong in the union. Once the “unit” is defined, we contact everyone in the unit to answer any questions they may have and again assess the level of support. On average, there is 25 days between when a petition is filed and an election. Elections are secret ballot and typically held at your place of employment. The IAM becomes your official bargaining representative is 50% +1 of those voting cast a “yes” ballot.
That sounds complicated. Can’t the company just “recognize” the union?
Yes. If a majority of your co-workers signs authorization cards, we can ask the company to recognize the IAM as your bargaining representative. The company has no obligation to do so, however. And while there are cases where the company will recognize the union, the majority of the time management will push to keep the workplace union free.
Why would the company fight unionization?
Because they’re worried about losing power and control. Right now, management holds all the cards. Coming together in union so you can negotiate collectively over your wages, benefits and more will change that.
What can I expect from the “anti-union” campaign?
And lots of them.
Management will also probably hire a high-priced anti-union law firm. They’re primary objective: instill fear in the workplace. They’ll try and scare you by pedaling lies and half truths such as you’ll lose money during negotiations, the IAM will take you out on strike, etc. There will be pressure from management in the form of letters, speeches and one-one-one “chats”. There will be captive-audience meetings. They will almost certainly ask for a “second chance” and promise improvements. They may even make superficial changes meant to address your concerns. Just remember – without a negotiated agreement, nothing is guaranteed.
Visit the FAQ page to learn more about dues, strikes and other issues that will undoubtedly come up.
So, how do we fight back?
It starts with using non-work time and breaks to voice your support for the union. This will ease the fears of some by letting them know they aren’t the only ones who want to see a change in the workplace. And remember: it is illegal for any company to fire, demote or penalize and employee because of their union support.
Visit the “Your Rights” page to learn more about your rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
That seems like an awful lot of work. Is it worth it?
Every single one of us who puts in an honest day’s work deserves to have the ability to follow our true passions and live life doing the things we love. Unfortunately, in too many cases, that’s not how it works. Our wages remain stagnant while executives and management reap the spoils of our work. We miss fishing trips, soccer games or whatever it is that fulfills us because we are forced to work on our days off. Each year our benefits seem to get worse and worse.
The ONLY way to truly counter this is with the power of many. That means working together to change the rules in our workplaces. In doing this, we’ll start building better lives for those of us that are building the products and providing the services that make our nation great.
So… Yes. It’s worth it.