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How to Form a Union Where You Work

The goal of every organizing campaign is a signed contract that improves the wages and working conditions of the workers.


The first step in every organizing campaign happens because at least one worker decides to step forward to try to make changes at his or her job. That first step can be contacting BCTGM Local No. 19’s organizing department at 1-800-362-2120 or 216-771-5386. Your call will be confidential. We are available to answer your questions about forming a union.

 One Worker Can Spark Change 


Once you contact the Union Organizer he or she will set up a meeting and together you will develop a strategic plan which best meets the needs of the workers who are seeking to organize. The basic requirement, which must be established in every campaign, is that a majority of the workers wish to be represented by BCTGM Local No. 19 and sign authorization cards specifically stating that request. That is not to say that everyone must be on board before contacting the Union. It only takes one worker to start an organizing campaign. BCTGM Local 19 organizers provide the tools for organizing and contacting other workers to gauge interest in organizing.

Once a majority of the workers sign authorization cards requesting recognition, the Union and the workers will request that the employer voluntarily recognize the union on the basis of the majority request. If the employer agrees to recognize, a local clergy, a judge or an arbitrator will compare the names from the cards and the payroll records to determine that a true majority does in fact request recognition. Once the majority is established, the employer is then obligated to negotiate a contract. If the employer chooses not to recognize the union voluntarily, the union will then file a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (N.L.R.B.) asking that this federal agency conduct a secret ballot election. At least 30% of the workers must have signed authorization cards for the board to conduct an election. The cards will be turned over to the board along with the petition. The cards are kept confidential and employers will not be told who signed the cards.


 Establish A Majority 


 A Campaign Is Conducted 

After a representation petition is filed, an appropriate unit is established and the board sets a date for an election. This date is a minimum of 45 days from the date of the filing of the petition. During this 45 day period a campaign is conducted by the Union and the workers within the company. Usually employers also conduct campaigns at the same time. If the majority of the workers who vote in the secret ballot election vote in favor of union representation, the board certifies the election and the employer is then obligated to bargain with the union.

With the assistance of BCTGM Local 19, workers can have a voice on the job and the security of a union contract.

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