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Unionize the Union FAQ


Whether you're considering unionization for your workplace or seeking to understand the benefits and legalities involved, you'll find answers to common questions and resources to empower your journey towards workplace equity and solidarity.



What is a union?

Unions are organizations that represent a group of workers. It is a form of collective action protected by the National Labor Relations Act and enables groups of workers to collectively bargain for higher wages, better work conditions, and benefits.

Why do workers join unions?

People join unions because it can help them secure fair wages, legal representation against unjust terminations, and overall treatment of employees as less replaceable through work contracts for groups of workers. 

What are the rights of union members?

Outlined in the National Labor Relations Act, you have the right to engage in concerted activities to obtain better compensation.

Examples include:

  • Talking with one or more co-workers about your wages and benefits or other working conditions
  • Circulating a petition asking for better hours
  • Participating in a concerted refusal to work in unsafe conditions
  • Openly talking about your pay and benefits
  • Joining with co-workers to talk directly to your employer, to a government agency, or to the media about problems in your workplace 

What are union dues?

Members pay dues on a regular basis to fund the union's operations, which include organizing campaigns, hiring attorneys, covering administrative expenses, and also helping other workplaces unionize.

Do unions only represent blue-collar workers?

No, unions represent laborers in a wide range of fields and jobs, such as public sector workers, healthcare providers, and white-collar professionals. 

How do unions impact wages and benefits?

By drafting collective bargaining agreements that establish guidelines for pay, benefits, hours, and workplace policies. 

Can I be fired for joining a union? 

Employees' rights to form unions and take part in union activities are protected by federal law. It is legal for workers in most industries to join a union and engage in collective bargaining. It is illegal in many countries to retaliate against union workers, however, it's essential to understand your rights and consult with a labor rights organization or union representative if you have any questions.

Are unions still relevant today?

Unions have had a historic resurgence since 2022 because they defend workers' rights, securing just pay and benefits, and resolving workplace conflicts even in the face of shifting labor markets and technological advancements.

What are the criticisms of unions?

Some big name labor unions have had criticism in leadership corruption such as teamsters . Other criticisms fall under failure of representatives to secure the benefits workers wanted.

Why should I join a union?

A union provides you with collective bargaining power, protection against unfair treatment by your employer, access to better wages and benefits, and a voice in decisions that affect your work life. They also indirectly reduce poverty and address stagnation of wages. 

How do I know if my workplace needs a union?

Signs that your workplace may benefit from a union include low wages, lack of benefits, unsafe working conditions, unfair treatment by management, and lack of job security.

How do I start a union at my workplace?

Starting a union typically involves organizing your coworkers, collecting signatures to demonstrate support, and then formally petitioning for recognition from your employer, and election for or against union representation at your workplace. It's advisable to seek guidance from a labor union or labor rights organization to navigate the process effectively.

What if I disagree with the union's decisions?

Unions work in a more democratic system. In the case that there is disagreement, you can take it up with the union through their decision-making processes such as elections or meetings.

Can non-union workers benefit from union activities?

Non-union workers may indirectly receive some benefits from union activities on occasion, however, they do not receive the direct benefits such as higher wages or specific protections as union workers do. Some benefits include, higher standard of compensation throughout industry, and anticipation of unionizing workers causing employers to raise wages, as well as union membership being associated with lower poverty rates and better public health.