CREATING A LABOR UNION

To form a union at your place of work you will need to take the following steps as addressed in the above flow chart.  These steps are: Know your rights, gather information, build the union, make the union official and negotiate and win the contract (OPEIU, n.d.).  Before you begin the process you must begin to meet with others with the same concerns you have at your workplace after hours and away from work premises.

In step one (1) you begin to meet with those with the same concerns.  You start to research your rights in forming a union.  This information can be found in the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) website (www.nlrb.gov).  The NLRA was enacted by congress in 1935 to protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to curtail certain private sector labor and management practices, which can harm the general welfare of workers, businesses and the U.S. economy (NLRA, n.d.).

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The next step is to gather information.  Meeting with your fellow co-workers and going over the concerns.  Is there a common concern that workers would like to address?  For example, possibly pay is not equal in all areas of the company.  Additional information will be who will represent the workers, how will communication be delivered to co-workers, and will there be political representation? 

Once all of the information is gathered and questions are answered the next step is to build the union.  To create the union you will need leadership or a committee many times called “Organizing Committee”.  This committee will be the ones that will educate the workers in the benefits of creating a union, explain the rights to create a union, plans a strategy and keeps the co-workers motivated (OPEIU, n.d.).

The fourth step is to make the union “official” (OPEIU, n.d.).  Here the co-workers interested in organizing a union have signed authorization cards.  Then a request to become an official union is sent into the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) or your employer can voluntarily recognize the union (OPEIU, n.d.). 

The final step is to negotiate the contract and win.  Once the unions is official either through the NLRB or the voluntary recognition of the employer, you begin negotiations with your employer.  Based on what you and your co-workers are wanting to change and improve upon you will present those to the employer and they will be legally required to negotiate in good faith with your union (OPEIU, n.d.).  These negotiations will have to be in writing.  The union will vote on the contract and the different aspects presented by the employer. 

The union organizing process is different in the public sector in comparison to the private sector in that federal law allows private sector employees the right to join unions, negotiate with employers for wages and working conditions, and take action on concerns they may have in their working conditions this also includes the right to strike.  The public sector employees are not allowed the same (Raines, n.d.). 

Describe the roles of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) compared to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA). 

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