When workers have a union, they have a voice on the job. Working together, they negotiate good wages and working conditions so they can provide a better life for their families. Union members have higher wages, greater job stability, retirement security, and access to quality healthcare for their families. It is no wonder that 57 million Americans who are not union members say they want to be part of one.
Sadly, workers are routinely denied that basic right. One out of four employers actually fire workers for trying to form a union. Many employers hire expensive lawyers and anti-union consultants to delay any union election, sometimes for years. In this climate, workers often feel powerless.
While the federal National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) establishes that workers have the right to join unions, it provides for a union election that is unlike any real democratic election—because one side has all the power. In a NLRA election, the employer can prohibit workers from talking about the union, harass workers who support the union, and intimidate workers with few, if any, repercussions.
Numerous reports have documented the harassment, intimidation, and illegal firings faced by workers who try to organize a union. The statistics are staggering: 25% of employers faced with an organizing drive fire at least one worker for supporting the union. More than half of all companies tell workers they will close down if workers vote for the union.
Majority sign-up, or “card check,” is a better way for workers to choose whether or not to join a union. Under majority sign-up, workers have the chance to talk to each other about the union without facing employer harassment. Instead of waiting months or even years for an election while the employer runs an anti-union campaign, workers who want a union simply sign cards asking the union to represent them in collective bargaining.
How to Form a Union Where You Work
Using the California Labor Laws Offensively
Majority Sign-Up or “Card Check”
“Why I Joined a Union” Stories from the AFL-CIO