The Steps of the Process
- SHOWING OF INTEREST:The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) requires that a minimum of 30% of the employees fill out union authorization cards before it will conduct an election.
2. ELECTION PETITION FILED: The IAM presents the signed cards to the NLRB with a request that it conduct an election.
3. ELECTION DATE SET: The Union, a Company Representative, and the NLRB meet to set an election date, time and place that is mutually agreeable.
4. NLRB ELECTION: You decide by secret ballot if you want the IAM to begin negotiations with your Company.
A “YES” vote will give you the chance to proceed. VOTE YES!
5. PREPARE FOR NEGOTIATIONS: During the 7-10 days it takes for the NLRB to certify the election results, you and your fellow employees will meet to decide what specific benefits you would like to have in a first contract. We will also begin the process of selecting a bargaining committee of employees.
6. NEGOTIATIONS: The employees’ Negotiating Committee, IAM Representatives, and the Company begin a series of meetings to work out differences and develop a contract offer.
7.RATIFICATION: You will meet to discuss and vote (by secret ballot) on the Company’s offer. If rejected, we go back into negotiations. If accepted, wage rates and all new benefits begin as of the contract date.
8. JOIN THE UNION: Finally, after a contract is signed and you are already receiving better wages and benefits, you then become a member of the Union. This happens on the 31st day after the contract date.
Talk to your co-workers. This is the first step. Do many of you share the same concerns? Is there a common theme such as lack of respect and dignity; no input with management; unfair, arbitrary treatment or favoritism? Are wages and benefits lower at your workplace than what workers are getting in similar jobs in your industry? Write them up on a list.
When talking among yourself about a union, be sure to talk only while you are on breaks, away from work areas, or off company property. Organizing a union is legal and a protected right under the law, but you need to avoid tipping off management as long as possible. If your employer finds out, especially when you are in the beginning stages of identifying key workplace issues and building union support, your road to success will be much more difficult.
Building a committee. After determining support for a union exists around key workplace issues, build a committee of co-workers that is representative of your workplace. Building a strong inside organizing committee is critical to building the majority support that you will need to establish your union.
Ideally, the number of workers on your committee should be at least 10 percent of the workforce. During this stage, the IAM will give you tips and provide resources on how to build majority union support.
Build majority support. After building your committee and identifying key issues, you need to talk openly with your co-workers, discussing issues, and building union support. This begins the “public” phase of your campaign. Through one-on-one discussions with workers in your workplace, evaluate the support that exists for a union around your key issues. Remember, that even though this is the “public” part of your campaign, restrict your discussions about a union to breaks in non-working locations (lunchrooms, bathrooms), or away from company property.
An excellent way to build support for your union is to get co-workers to sign union authorization cards affirming support for the Union. Most employers will launch their campaigns against your union at this stage, if they are not tipped off earlier. When they learn of your campaign, they try to increase fear and conflict in the workplace and blame it on the “union” as if it is some outside organization. Remember, you are the Union.