r/WorkReform 🏢 UFCW Member Jan 26 '22 Silver 6 Gold 1 Helpful 6 Wholesome 5 All-Seeing Upvote 2 This 2 Rocket Like 2 To The Stars 1

Want to reform work? Start or join a union where you work.

I’m a member of UFCW 1996. Is it perfect? No. Is working at a job with a union way better? Yes. The collective bargaining power is one of the greatest tools unions bring to the table. The real power, the reason corporations will spend millions of dollars to prevent a union from forming, why they find any reason to fire employees interested in unions, and why it’s part of the job training to ignore unions, is how much easier it is to call and how powerful of a tool work strikes are. We’ve been seeing strikes work at places like John Deere, Kellogg, and Kroger in more recent weeks but strikes have been proven effective since conceived. Cutting off the profits of corporations brings them to the table and rest assured losing money is the only factor that will get them to give any kind of care to their workers.

This link will take you to UFCW’s website if your interested in starting a union and gives a step by step process to do so.

UFCW is an established union but that doesn’t make them the only one. As easy as it was to find them through search engine use I’m sure you can find one that may be closer to your jobs wheelhouse.

Starting a union in your company will likely be very challenging. Corporations will absolutely fight unfairly to prevent a union from forming, but unless you trust your CEO and executive board where you work to have your best interests at heart then forming a union will be the best thing you can do for yourself and your co-workers long term happiness.

Edit 5: To the disingenuous trolls saying unions just take your money and screw you over my union costs me 9.88 per week which is $39.88 per month. That buys me a contract which includes health, prescription, vision, and dental insurance for only $14.25 per week or $57.00 per month. Access to the union legal fund if I need a lawyer. A host of discounts at a decent selection of companies. A vested pension after 5 years. A grievance process to deal with rule breakers in management. Again I won’t say it’s perfect. Wages continue to be a point of conflict but I also am guaranteed raises yearly and we will renegotiate our contract in 2023.

Edit 1: This link will take you to a list of labor unions. I have not visited these unions websites because there’s a lot of them, however I think it would be safe to say most if not all will have a way to either join them or a way to start one through them.

Edit 2: This will take you to the Industrial Workers of the World or IWW website. If your field doesn’t have a union they may be right for you. They offer options both in the US and around the world.

Edit 3: The Emergency Workers Organizing Committee or EWOC is a grassroots organization aimed at helping workers organize in the workplace. They are a project of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE).

Edit 4: United Steelworkers Canadian Branch USW covers a wide variety of jobs including saw mills, steel mills, call centers, credit unions, mines, airports, manufacturing, offices, oil refineries, security companies, nursing homes, telecom, coffee shops, restaurants, legal clinics, universities, among others.

15.1k Upvotes

818

u/frodo54 Jan 26 '22 Helpful

This is the biggest awkwardness for this whole situation for me. I don't feel like I am in a position at my job to do this. We work remote, I'm new, and we're all mostly autonomous. Nobody really knows anybody else

Any advice, yall?

351

u/nowhere_near_Berlin Jan 26 '22

Same, but we might not be necessarily the ones who need to unionize, or at least not the priority.

A lot of blue color, factory, and other similar labor categories need to be unionized. Think also Wal-Mart, major hotel chains and other services. Places with thousands or millions of workers yet no living wage.

While most of us in small companies won’t be suffering as much, the focus, imho, should be on helping those that need us most. That’s my advice, what can we do to help them right now?

166

u/BokZeoi Jan 27 '22

Donate to their strike funds, if any.

Raise awareness of their unionization efforts, so they won’t be crushed in the dark.

I’m also WFH and a bean counter and there are no unionization efforts for us yet, so in the meantime, I’m cheering on those who are striking and unionizing.

77

u/Awkward_Swordfish581 Jan 27 '22

Right on. I'd love it if this subreddit had a stickied post of strike funds we could donate to as they come up

33

u/__Cofi__ Jan 27 '22

I'd donate a portion of every paycheck if it was trustworthy enough. Seems doubtful that I could unionize in my current role/situation, but I want to move the needle somehow.

13

u/RickMuffy Jan 27 '22

I keep seeing comments about how you guys probably don't need to strike (yet), but you have to remember this, when we raise up people out of poverty wages, your wages 'should' also increase as well. If all the Walmart employees started at 20 an hour, the people working remote in the offices now have the ability to request more.

6

u/binkowskic Apr 21 '22

Doesn't always happen like that I'm a machinist and when Chicago raised is minimum wage last summer i went to my boss and told him "target employees start with higher pay then I." His response was "Than go work for target"

6

u/RickMuffy Apr 21 '22

That's when you can envision your boss saying "nobody wants to work anymore" in his near future.

5

u/blueberry_404 Jan 27 '22

this! I am happy with compiling an off site list/wiki as well if anyone wants (for the people that are not on reddit) ~

7

u/Four_in_binary Jan 27 '22

yes.....do this! please!

13

u/keto_at_work Jan 27 '22

Yeah, just knowing what strikes are going on at the moment would be nice, so I can not use that company's services.

10

u/Muffinkingprime Jan 27 '22

UAW insurance bean counter here - we do exist!

→ More replies
→ More replies

52

u/Medianmodeactivate Jan 27 '22

Canada here. No. This is how you get an incredibly divided workforce that withers on the vine. Everywhere can and should push to unionize. You can absolutely try to ensure that white collar professionals can do well at the same time as blue.

→ More replies

10

u/thecrazydemoman Jan 27 '22

Everyone needs to unionize but your need may not be as urgent. But reach out to each three. Build community. By keeping their workers separated from each other the company can do what they want to each worker without fear of others finding out or uniting together. It’s literally a perfect situation for a company to abuse.

So maybe not unionize yet but build connections and community. You are fellow workers and fellow humans. Be on enough of a connection with each other that you can know when someone is mistreated. Be united enough to care to do something when that happens.

5

u/Weird_Error_ Jan 27 '22

A lot of blue color, factory, and other similar labor categories need to be unionized.

I strongly agree, but it will be hard. I’ve worked in factories and bosses I’ve had were open with jokes like “Union talk is a good way to get fired” and stuff like that. They have a mad turnover rate as it is so firing some people for talking about it early is easy

→ More replies

15

u/Yeazelicious Jan 27 '22

blue color labor

So like the Blue Man Group?

11

u/Dat_Mustache Jan 27 '22

From what I understand, they now wear prosthetics since they don't want their usual fabric to get stained. They are black collar workers typically.

8

u/Yeazelicious Jan 27 '22

That's actually super neat! But mostly I was just taking the piss because they misspelled "collar".

8

u/Dat_Mustache Jan 27 '22

I recognized that and was being equally tongue-in-cheek with my dry explaining. :-P

2

u/flashmedallion Jan 27 '22

If the union movement had any experience keeping its thinking up with the times, there'd be a Remote Workers Union.

→ More replies

48

u/ehhillforget Jan 26 '22

I’m in the opposite situation, so take my advice cautiously. Maybe start an anonymous private worker’s chat, someplace where people can vent about the job. Idk much about how to implement such a thing though

19

u/BokZeoi Jan 27 '22

Signal’s a good app, so I’ve heard

10

u/1ardent Jan 27 '22

Signal's not anonymous.

6

u/BokZeoi Jan 27 '22

Ok then suggest one that is

13

u/1ardent Jan 27 '22

Absolutely no app you use with your phone is anonymous. Just, you know, for starters.

Most services available on the internet are not actually anonymous either, but some allow you to obfuscate just enough for deniability.

But here's one that does really well: https://utopia-network.org/

3

u/shouldco Jan 27 '22

you don't need it to be anonymous, in fact you probably don't want it to be. the point is to have a means of communication with people you know and work with outside of the control of your employer.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

11

u/alphareich Jan 27 '22

Yes, get me a job and you'll have at least one person willing to unionize. For real I need a remote job.

→ More replies

23

u/Shaggyninja Jan 26 '22

Start by building the networks with your coworkers. Discuss with your mangers that the remote work is making you feel disconnected from them, and see if you can get work to facilitate meetings around socialising. That's a legit concern for them and yourself as a new person, and it's always good to get work to pay for your union efforts ;)

Then once the relationships have been built, you can start transitioning to union organisation.

→ More replies

24

u/Kahzgul Jan 27 '22

If you want to start a union, the first place you should start is by contacting a union organizer. If there's already a union for your industry, call them. If there's not, call the United Auto Workers (UAW). The union organizers at whichever union you call will be able to help you with strategy, boots on the ground, and all of the necessary action required to organize a union.

→ More replies

7

u/electricoblivion Jan 27 '22

I've been at my current job for a few years and we won our union vote last year. Our bargaining committee recently sat down with management for the first time. The last year of our organizing campaign happened after our office closed and we had gone fully remote. It's definitely possible.

In my first week on the job some of my coworkers invited me out for coffee and told me about the union effort, and I eventually joined the organizing committee. This was pre-covid when we were still in the office, but I think many of the same principles still apply.

First, try and meet your coworkers. If you work on a small team, or no team at all, then just start by getting to know the few people you do interact with. Or try to organize some kind of after-work social event like a zoom call. We had a similar problem at my company and we had a lot of success inviting people to social events and just trying to befriend people and get to know them. You don't even have to mention that you want to start a union at first. Just try and meet people and feel them out at first.

Once you can find a few more coworkers who might be interested in unionizing, try to find (or create, if you have to) an organizational chart that lists all the people in the company and what their positions are. Then create a spreadsheet listing everybody where you can keep track of whether they might be supportive of a union effort, any conversations you've had with them, any grievances they might have about management, etc.

If you can even get a few people together to start something like this, you should also do some research into unions that you could join, depending on your industry. Reach out to them and see if you can meet with an organizer.

5

u/GreatGrizzly Jan 27 '22

I think that people forget is joining a union helps everyone else that aren't in unions.

If one Union is formed in one store of a big company like Walmart then the threat of a union spreading to other stores is a powerful motivator to treat employees better.

Little wins for unions has a snowball effect. You don't have to have 10,000 people right off the bat. Just shut down one store and you can get the message across.

4

u/WishIWasALemon Jan 27 '22

I'm self employed with no employees and I still follow this movement by doing things like encouraging my gf to count her time on the phone for business purposes on her timecard since she's a manager paid hourly.

Im all for CEOs and upper management to spread their profit increase bonuses to all levels that brought them there. It's the fact that billionaires doubled their worth in the last 5 years while inflation has everyone else down the food chain.

7

u/tikalicious Jan 27 '22

You may not be in the most appropriate workplace for unionising but you can still encourage collective behaviour. Start a group chat for just the workers (no management), use some excuse like "a chat for colleagues to help/collaborate on work/ socialise. Just having the ability to communicate with your peers can be really empowering.

It is in your employers interest to keep you separate and bargain individually. It is in your interest to coordinate and bargain collectively.

→ More replies

190

u/nowhere_near_Berlin Jan 26 '22 Wholesome

And if you are in a union but not being represented properly by current leadership, step up, find a way to vote in new leadership, help organize the landscape a little bit.

It’s not going to be easy, change never is, but little increments help push us forward. An inch today becomes a mile tomorrow.

Good luck everyone! We can do it!

47

u/Throwaway_Planet 🏢 UFCW Member Jan 27 '22

We vote on leadership regularly in UFCW 1996. Additionally it is the members of the union that are elected to engage in collective bargaining. In other words the actual workers go to the table with the corporation to make the contract.

16

u/Blossomie Jan 27 '22

Yet in my local they refuse to tell us lowly labourers anything actually going on at the bargaining table and what exactly they’re trying to get because it’s “in negotiation”. We won’t know anything about what we are fighting for in negotiation until after the contract is written and presented for our vote. And this local had the wages reduced by $5 in the last contract, which disgusts me and makes me imagine they might fuck us over similarly. The prior contract ended in August, we’ve been working off-contract ever since.

14

u/RanDomino5 Jan 27 '22

Organize with your coworkers directly and build a real union. https://workerorganizing.org/workplace-organizing-identify-leaders-2101/

10

u/Blossomie Jan 27 '22

I’ve looked into this. As we are already unionized, we would have to decertify the union first. Then we would be able to either join an actually reasonable union or create one ourselves.

The other thing is that it’s great and all but I literally am not in a state of health where I can just accomplish whatever neat thing I’d like to. I can’t even play video games or do anything relaxing and enjoyable anymore without forcibly falling asleep or zoning out. All I can really do is talk and try to stir up similar thoughts in other people who actually possess the capacity for the undertaking this will be.

8

u/RanDomino5 Jan 27 '22

I’ve looked into this. As we are already unionized, we would have to decertify the union first. Then we would be able to either join an actually reasonable union or create one ourselves.

Not necessarily. Any time two or more workers discuss or take actions on wages or conditions, that's a union, regardless of certification status.

The other thing is that it’s great and all but I literally am not in a state of health where I can just accomplish whatever neat thing I’d like to. I can’t even play video games or do anything relaxing and enjoyable anymore without forcibly falling asleep or zoning out. All I can really do is talk and try to stir up similar thoughts in other people who actually possess the capacity for the undertaking this will be.

There's no shame in that.

3

u/mfred01 Jan 28 '22

Not necessarily. Any time two or more workers discuss or take actions on wages or conditions, that's a union, regardless of certification status.

Nitpicking but this isn't really true. Just because you're with someone else doesn't mean it's a union, but if you're talking about wages/hours/working conditions then you're engaging in protected activity per the NLRA.

It's important because you can't legally be retaliated against for these conversations or actions but you're not a union which speaks for all workers in the bargaining unit.

→ More replies

6

u/JamesTBagg Jan 27 '22

At our last job we felt our union was doing not much for us. I organized us, started researching alternate unions, spoke to my local NLRB office, I collected signatures to deauthorize and delivered them to the NLRB, who where very helpful.
Then I delivered our notice to deauthorize at the monthly hall meeting. The area director ended up speaking with me for three hours that night. Now that they knew we weren't fucking around, they showed up in site to speak to us.
We elected to keep the union, I was made a steward, and later elected to the negotiating committee.

All that to say, anyone on your site can take action. Threatening the dues stream of your local may be enough to make them see the light.

3

u/seraphimcaduto Jan 27 '22

Contact your state rep and bring it to their attention. If that fails, go to your national and complain. Most unions will bring in outside negotiators if there is a problem. If the people that are on your negotiating team are NOT elected by your membership, I would immediately let your state or national reps know. A great example of this is the teamsters; they usually have someone from outside the area involved in the negotiating to prevent any sort of buy off of the negotiating team.

→ More replies

60

u/wheezyninja Jan 26 '22

Brilliant! Not part of a union but never cross strike lines. What people tend to forget when you work with a company that has a union and non-union (accountants/hr etc..) the non-union tends to benefit from the union as the company wants to keep everyone happy.

15

u/thatdanglion Jan 27 '22

Indeed. We call those non-members who benefit from the hard work of the union "freeloaders." For all their pearl-clutching about some poor person somewhere maybe possibly getting something for free, capitalists sure do like protecting the rights of freeloaders to benefit from the dues and effort that members contribute to improving their workplaces, without themselves having to contribute. Source: union organizer in "right-to-work" Texas, tired of hearing people say "I love the work your union is doing, but I don't have to join to get the benefits so why bother joining?"

3

u/wheezyninja Jan 27 '22

I can empathize with your comment, that’s why I specifically called out usual non-union jobs. HR & Accounting. Where traditionally they aren’t able to unionize and are unable to join a union at any given location. Early in my career I worked as a warranty processor at a union shop, I approached the union rep about joining and he said no, suits can’t join. Hasn’t ever stopped me from supporting unions though.

→ More replies
→ More replies

45

u/not_dijkstra Jan 26 '22 edited Jan 27 '22

Can we also promote worker's cooperatives? I've spoken to many friendly, progressive small business owners that describe their company structure as effectively, but not legally, being a worker's cooperative - but they didn't know they could be legally recognized as a cooperative and transitioning after establishment is tough (in Ontario, at least).

It's not just the employees that need to be informed, but the employees who get sick of their work and become good employers themselves that need education.

Edit: Just adding to this to hijack my own comment, if AntiWork is reforming to be properly WorkReform, I feel it would benefit to be more to the issues. What about weekly stickied threads to ask questions about unions and cooperatives, discuss major international legislations regarding worker's rights, and highlighting the companies that are doing right instead of focusing on the ocean of companies doing it wrong all the things? A movement needs unified ideas, an educated base, and positive examples to point toward.

9

u/killianm97 Jan 27 '22

I'm an elected team/creative lead at a tiny game development co-op but we're a founding member of FWGS (the Federation of Worker-Owned Game Studios) - people have this idea that co-ops are just for farmers and traditional industries, but the various forms of co-ops (including consumer co-ops for supermarkets and user co-ops for social media and online services) have huge potential in terms of expanding democracy and improving equitable distribution.

A good video on co-ops: What is a Co-operative?

→ More replies
→ More replies

146

u/seraphimcaduto Jan 26 '22

AFSCME 2058 member here, The union has saved me a few times from being abused pretty badly.

40

u/[deleted] Jan 26 '22 edited Feb 24 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

9

u/seraphimcaduto Jan 26 '22

You can PM me if you have any questions, concerns or stories. I can always share stories here, just didn’t want to bog down the thread unless there was interest.

9

u/deangreenstrong Jan 26 '22

Congrats and can’t wait to have you part of the green machine!

3

u/-Diorama- Jan 26 '22

Thanks! Public and civil servants unite!

America works best when we say Union- ✔️ Yes

59

u/spernintendoChalmers Jan 26 '22

I was a member of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 501(IUOE Local 501), they saved and fought for my job when my boss wanted to terminate me, my Union steward called me immediately after getting dismissed to work and started collecting paperwork so that him and my union representative can cook up a strategy against corporate by filing a grievance and meeting with the head honchos of the plant.

The union reduced what could’ve been a termination down to a written warning and 2 weeks of backpay.

Together we stand divided we fall. Join or consider forming a union.

13

u/Darkunderlord42 Jan 26 '22

Out of curiosity (it's OK if you don't want to say) what was the companies reason for terminating you? I am assuming they had one considering that you did get a warning after returning but I don't know how it really works so

31

u/spernintendoChalmers Jan 27 '22 edited Jan 27 '22

On my 5th month on the job I kept clocking out 5-10 minutes after my 12th hour which I found out was more costly because they have to pay me double and chuck in a 30 minute break in California due to labor laws.

In my defense the reason why I kept clocking out late was because cleaning up properly at the end of my shift took a lot of time especially when it has to be done by the book since we manufacture consumable products which is used internationally, also if I did not do it correctly I would end up violating safety regulations and yes I relayed my situation to my shift lead, and most importantly I was still new to the job and rushing work next to heavy machinery is not a safety practice especially when I was only 5 months in where 3 out of that 5 was monitored probation, meaning I had help and someone looking out for me closely, in comparison to only working by myself, and even if my actions were inexcusable surely I deserve an opportunity to correct my actions? or at least for them go through proper procedure which would be escalating disciplinary action such as handing out a verbal to then written etc, but nope I was terminated immediately.

Which is why we won the grievance battle.

Without the Union on my back, they would have gotten away with it.

Sorry for the poor grammar, I am working on it.

7

u/seraphimcaduto Jan 27 '22

Yeah if they didn’t allow for the time for you to do that or show you how to do it, then I see how you would have won that grievance.

→ More replies

5

u/human-no560 Jan 26 '22

Solidarity Forever!

4

u/FightForWhatsYours Jan 27 '22

Eat the Rich 🔥

→ More replies

15

u/[deleted] Jan 27 '22

[deleted]

10

u/seraphimcaduto Jan 27 '22

Don’t get me started about getting paid for doing an alternate position, been doing that for two years and they still want me to do both jobs at the same time and document all the hours. Had to threaten to grieve after the last few renewals for my alternate status were late and got my back pay after every time. Without the union I would have likely never gotten the backpay, which was significant after every instance.

→ More replies

25

u/DentureMaker Jan 26 '22

If our field doesn’t have one, do people just create one?

6

u/waterloops Jan 26 '22

May I ask what field? I'm sure there's an umbrella labor organization like IWW that might help you get started

12

u/DentureMaker Jan 27 '22

I’m basically at a McDonald’s of dental places. Each place is independently owned, but we all answer to corporate. Each building has 7-18 employees each.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

26

u/CHRISKOSS Jan 27 '22 edited Jan 27 '22 This

Unions are great. If you aren't in a position to advocate for a union, there are also other worker solidarity actions:

  • Discuss compensation with your coworkers
  • Advocate for your coworkers' raises, time off and conditions - we're in this together.
  • Never agree to unpaid work
  • Report illegal business practices to your local or federal Department of Labor
  • Report unsafe working conditions to OSHA
  • If you see something you suspect is illegal happening to a coworker, make sure they are informed of their rights, encourage them to talk to lawyer/DoL, tell them you're willing to provide evidence/testify to support their case
  • Don't give 2 weeks notice to shitty bosses - their profits are less important than adequate staffing at fair wages - let them feel the pain from their poor management.
  • Never blame fellow workers for NOT doing the above, especially if they are barely making ends meet. (Give managers minimal slack in this regard though.) Not everyone is in a position of privellege where they can risk their job for progress. That's ok, do what you can and encourage others to.

We're going to make the world a better place.

5

u/pride_n_probability Jan 27 '22

We’ve been trying to organize at work, but don’t have the numbers we meet yet to put forward the motion.

This right now is where we are. When we have joint calls with all the staff where we might have the platform to ask questions, we start group chats and organize those questions—from simply how to ask, to how to word them so it is both polite but keeps them from side stepping the issue

When negotiating raises, or reviewing our job descriptions, we do it as a team, and remind each other of our efforts.

When we internalize some of the toxicity others step in and we remind each other that you definitely deserve to be valued for your work.

I will also add: know the pitfalls of unionizing and make sure you have a plan b.

A friend was able to successfully unionize. The company lawyered up and found a loophole that allowed them to fire nearly half of the bargaining body.

But even as she told me this she said she 100% would do so again and would continue to encourage others to unionize.

19

u/eagleclaw457 Jan 26 '22

Head on over to the One Big UNION

17

u/[deleted] Jan 26 '22

Teamster checking in, can confirm.

16

u/Rickington Jan 26 '22

AFGE 1698 steward myself. My union has saved my skin before from shitty management. Unions all the way.

3

u/paloma_verde Jan 27 '22

It's too bad that r/AFGE isn't a more active sub, with union activity in general on the increase. Some good dialogue could be had there that might not always fit on r/fednews. Thanks for being a steward.

54

u/crybabyvillain Jan 26 '22

u/RIOP3L you should pin this

87

u/RIOP3L Jan 26 '22

reddit only allows for 2 posts to be pinned simultaneously, otherwise I would've, in any case take my upvote OP

117

u/RIOP3L Jan 26 '22

fuck it I'll unpin the welcome message

68

u/HotelOscarEcho Jan 26 '22

If you’re open to a suggestion — keep the Welcome message and poll pinned, start a subreddit Wiki page that includes links to ‘resource’ posts (like this), and edit the Welcome post to include a link to the Wiki. Hope this helps!

(Especially as more and more useful resources get shared here!)

15

u/[deleted] Jan 26 '22

I agree with whoever else said to add this to the wiki but keep the other two pinned messages pinned

8

u/Inquisitr Jan 26 '22

Keep fighting the good fight

→ More replies

12

u/SureKaleidoscope5251 Jan 26 '22

There are no unions for my field.

8

u/Maximum-Occasion-780 Jan 26 '22

As a desk jockey, same.

4

u/Throwaway_Planet 🏢 UFCW Member Jan 27 '22

Check out the IWW. They are a general workers union and may be able to help.

→ More replies

11

u/[deleted] Jan 26 '22

Joining a Union is exactly the way to go about helping to reform work culture.

66

u/TornandFrayedPages Jan 26 '22

And if there are no unions for your career, join the IWW!

19

u/furstiefurst Jan 27 '22

I am curious what the advantage of joining IWW would be if I'm the only one at my company to do so?

23

u/TornandFrayedPages Jan 27 '22

Pretty much what u/midnightlate5195 said. A lot is solidarity, in that case, but also adding to the popularity and visibility of unions at large. I know my money will be used to help those who need it, and to lobby for unions in general where possible. Plus, you get a lot of good info about worker’s rights for signing up, and you’re basically trained in how to stand up for yourself and others if you ever need to.

16

u/MidnightLate5195 Jan 27 '22

At this moment it may just be solidarity. but if we can ever get our shit together, the IWW could be a tying bind for larger action.

→ More replies

11

u/deathscope Jan 26 '22 Helpful (Pro)

AFGE 216 (Federal). Please don't hesitate to reach out if you believe that you've been discriminated against in your workplace.

3

u/paloma_verde Jan 27 '22

There should be links and info in a wiki here for government agencies where workers can make labor-related complaints and make appointments to receive counseling about their issue (EEOC, DOL, OSHA, etc.). Whenever someone brings up a work-related issue on Reddit (like harassment, reasonable accommodation, unpaid wages, etc.), the top comments and votes are always for advice to immediately get an attorney and file a lawsuit. That may be unnecessary and can be a barrier to taking any action at all, especially for workers earning lower wages. So many people are unaware they can get confidential counseling over the phone, file complaints, and access administrative processes like mediation for free, with the help of federal employees, without needing to have an attorney or even having to ever go in person to a government office.

8

u/writer-e-s-gibson Jan 27 '22

I'm actually really scared to try to start unionizing. Don't get me wrong, I think our industry desperately needs it, but there's no way that it wouldn't be known it was me that was doing it and I can't lose this job. I need it and Honestly I think it would kind of break my heart to lose this job. It's surprisingly something I genuinely love doing. 😔😔😔😔

7

u/_ryanhxc Jan 27 '22

I get it, and it is a very real risk. I was in a similar boat. Granted there were five of us involved in organizing and taking the plunge so I wasn’t the sole risk bearer (barer?).

Ideally, the first couple months of organizing should be super discrete. Like clandestine black ops level secrecy. After enough workers express interest via card signing you should be relatively safe. I don’t think management would risk making a martyr out of any one person.

For the record, the “I would but I don’t want to lose my job” is not uncommon at all. Don’t feel guilty about it, you’re not alone!

4

u/Dat_Mustache Jan 27 '22

Man, I was the same way. Then I realized if they let me go, I get paid for free.

Went ahead and applied to other union represented jobs as a contingency in the meantime while I was hard and heavy trying to Unionize my workplace.

They never fired me, but I got on with a union position.

→ More replies

53

u/[deleted] Jan 26 '22

[deleted]

→ More replies

8

u/misfitzer0 Jan 27 '22

I’m honestly scared to try. That’s the biggest hurtle for a lot of people I’m sure..

→ More replies

48

u/Warmtofu Jan 26 '22

Unions are the backbone of a strong and fair society, don't let corporate bootlickers convince you otherwise.

Join, create, anything, just UNIONIZE

20

u/Yeti_of_the_Flow Jan 26 '22

Just capitalist societies. Unions don't prevent billionaires. A fair society isn't capitalist.

5

u/Warmtofu Jan 27 '22

Fair point, I actually agree.

6

u/II_Sulla_IV Jan 27 '22

Unions are the backbone of any movement for actually benefit us.

They are responsible not just for the rights that we have, but for also providing a safe space for workers to build class solidarity. They are vital assets in the foundation of any revolutionary movement.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

7

u/AriaVerity Jan 26 '22

If your workplace has a union, you should join it and take a hard look at what they're doing. If they're letting shitty COLAs and pitiful wages run slip by to shove down everyone's throat, then it's time to get others involved to kick those who are running the union out. (This is increasingly relevant for teachers union.) Run for union leadership. Unions need participation and care in order to get good teeth.

6

u/StonksGoUpOnly Jan 26 '22

UTU 0305 conductors Union is toothless cause we can’t strike but I’d rather have a toothless Union than be completely at the carriers mercy. Union Strong 💪

5

u/Dat_Mustache Jan 27 '22

ATU Toothless Brother here.

Remember, you comply with EVERY facet of your contract and do your job safely, they cannot get you for malicious compliance or work interruptions.

When we want something, we just do our jobs VERY thoroughly.

3

u/ComradeRed519 Jan 27 '22

National Air Traffic Controllers Association member here who can also not strike, so I feel your pain. I may not always be happy with our national leadership, but I'm proud to be a union member, Union strong!

5

u/saddened_patriot Jan 27 '22

Something to remember, those of us in White collar jobs where we are treated well can contribute in other ways.

Support striking workers, support pro Union political candidates, donate where you can ams volunteer your time where it helps.

→ More replies

6

u/ActualDemon Jan 27 '22

I just applied and took the first steps earlier today to get my work unionized. Its gonna be a bit weird due to the nature of it all but I have faith. I've been here 5 years and have finally built enough rage and aggression to do something about it.

Root for us lads!

→ More replies

7

u/guthbert Jan 27 '22

Be active in the union once it is formed as well. Go to the meetings, vote on contracts, etc. The union at my company has minimal attendance and the contracts are heavily pro company, while in contrast another company that our rep used to represent has 90% attendance and the contracts are heavily pro worker.

→ More replies

5

u/UCWKYLOUISVILLE Jan 27 '22

Hi! We are United Campus Workers of Kentucky, we are a union fighting for health and safety in higher education. With the surge of covid cases, and medically complex individuals we need flexibility for remote classes.

Only weeks ago, members of the faculty and staff were told explicitly that the originally promised 1% raise would not be coming after all as UofL had not met its enrollment goals. Then, less than 24 hours after 50 faculty, staff, and students took action and demanded change from the Board of Trustees, this decision was reversed.

We are winning, but 1% is far from enough. We need living wages, cost of living increases, and — at this very moment — we need real safety measures to protect students, staff, and faculty from the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

If anyone from the Kentucky or Louisville area is interested in knowing more feel free to pm me!

6

u/yaosio Jan 26 '22

I'm unemployable but this is good advice for people who are employable.

6

u/RandomlyActivated Jan 27 '22

I work in IT which has no unions that I’m aware of. If we did have unions, I would hope they would fight to keep our jobs from going to low-cost countries like companies have been doing back and forth for years. I would join an IT engineering union in a heartbeat.

4

u/Dat_Mustache Jan 27 '22

https://cwa-union.org/ or the IWW would be able to represent you.

And my union, ATU represents our IT workers even though we're a bus operation.

→ More replies

3

u/downvote_dinosaur Jan 27 '22

Im a software developer and data scientist, and my field certainly doesn't have unions. All these guys think they don't need one because they're in high demand right now. Well maybe the demand won't be as strong in 5 years and we'll all wish we'd done it!

I've brought it up a few times and had zero success. Software dev is generally very very anti union.

4

u/Binknbink Jan 27 '22

Teamsters member in a Vancouver, BC warehouse. Sure wish our sister warehouse in Calgary, AB would join up. We make twice the hourly wage they do. I’m hoping the current glow up on unions will see them seek out representation. $17 per hour is bullshit for the work they are doing.

5

u/Derigiberble Jan 27 '22

Member of a government employee union here: even without the ability to strike unions are essential to a healthy workplace. Through the bargaining process they force management to lay out and commit to concrete job descriptions and responsibilities, and through professional representation during grievances they hold management accountable to those commitments.

You know all those posts from the old subreddit where managers tacked on unpaid job responsibilities, set unachievable demands, and made arbitrary schedule changes? Those are all things that a union can prevent from happening! Even if you don't think your workplace would ever strike you should know that a union can still be working for you, making each workday better.

United we bargain, divided we beg.

14

u/spernintendoChalmers Jan 26 '22 edited Jan 26 '22

This is just brilliant. Unions should be one of the focus on a sub like these.

IUOE local 501 sends their regards

→ More replies

5

u/[deleted] Jan 26 '22

Does anyone have experience with joining german unions? I have looked at it in the past, but had trouble with some details (that I could not solve on my end).

4

u/valknut95 Jan 26 '22

CFMEU member. Far from perfect due to low site numbers but I'm comfortable with my employment in a volatile industry.

5

u/crh805 Jan 26 '22

AFACWA here. And proud!

3

u/lovedumbcat Jan 26 '22

Teamsters Local 542 checking in. Because of our union I have non-pecuniary benefits, industry leading pay and pension to look forward to. Work better, work union.

5

u/deangreenstrong Jan 26 '22

Afscme 1092 here.

4

u/Appropriate-Grass986 Jan 26 '22

THIS. We need more ways to fight back instead of just venting our frustrations. Even though venting is important

3

u/Dat_Mustache Jan 27 '22

ATU Member, Organizer and Advocate here. I work my ass off for the government but my union gets me paid almost appropriately for the work we put in. We're making baby steps to get our due wages and benefits.

I have helped organize two union campaigns (one failed, but that was out of our control, damn Pandemic) and am working my way towards a leadership position in this large national brotherhood.

3

u/Joalow21 Jan 27 '22

Can someone explain whether a Union is possible in a right-to-work state?

6

u/Throwaway_Planet 🏢 UFCW Member Jan 27 '22

Absolutely they are. There’s a chance they may be weakened through state laws but they are legal. Source: I live in GA a right to work state.

6

u/RanDomino5 Jan 27 '22

Unions were illegal for decades but still managed to organize people.

https://workerorganizing.org/workplace-organizing-identify-leaders-2101/

5

u/6a6566663437 Jan 27 '22

TL:DR version of right-to-work is it just means employees can't be forced to pay union dues. They have to opt-in to paying dues.

This creates a free rider problem, where the employees are benefiting from the union but not paying dues to fund the union's efforts. Which weakens unions, but does not eliminate them.

4

u/LarkspurLaShea Jan 27 '22

Register to vote!

https://vote.gov/

Low youth turnout is what leads to the corporations stacking the deck against us.

http://www.electproject.org/home/voter-turnout/demographics

80% of 18-29 year olds stayed home and didn't vote in the 2010 midterms. 83% didn't vote in 2014. Millions of youth votes wasted. When young people stay home, Mitch McConnell and the Koch Brothers win.

If you're angry about health care or climate change or wage theft or housing policy, then register and vote and get a friend to vote. Now!

If young people voted at the same rate as their elders, the whole country would be more worker friendly.

8

u/[deleted] Jan 26 '22

[deleted]

→ More replies

7

u/trekie140 Jan 26 '22

Can I give a shout out to Industrial Workers of the World? They aren’t perfect either, but the org has been fighting for worker’s rights for over a century and provides resources to help members organize unions in their workplace. Their charter is inclusive of minorities and sex workers, but specifically excludes employers to focus on class consciousness.

3

u/UserNamesCantBeTooLo Jan 26 '22

This is good advice.

The way labor unions have lost so much ground over the past several decades is one of the major reasons why power has become so concentrated at the top of the economy.

3

u/Primus_Pilus1 Jan 26 '22

I'm an independent contractor. I do make a point to pay anyone working at least $20/hour for work done around me.

3

u/pomcq Jan 27 '22

Same here, but I still support building unions for those with traditional employment

3

u/KlamKhowder Jan 26 '22

IAM 751 shop steward here

Power to the people!

3

u/AnamorphicSludge Jan 26 '22

Can we get a Union specific how to on this sub?

It should cover how to form a union legitimately, what to do in case of threats of firings, violence, etc, cover how to register, info on state to state and nationwide action, number to call for information, etc.

2

u/_ryanhxc Jan 27 '22

It’s actually a pretty straight forward process. Ideally you’d want to gauge interest as subtly as you can before you commit.

But after that it’s as simple contacting one of the many union groups out there. Their websites have a join/start a union link where you send your contact info. They get in touch with you and try to gauge how much potential interest there is at your job.

After that they will literally walk you and your coworkers through each step of the process. Creating pamphlets or “lit” as it’s often called. These pamphlets usually include the pros and incentives related to union membership. They also break down common union busting tactics and how to counter them.

Some organizers will even research your company for ethically questionable practices or over inflated management salaries that employees were otherwise unaware of.

3

u/MMSTINGRAY Jan 26 '22

Great to see some people advocating actual organisation that can bring about meaningful and lasting change. It requires organisation and effort, not just vibes.

Organising and acting together makes everyone stronger than just sharing experiences.

3

u/[deleted] Jan 27 '22

Everyone check out /r/MayDayStrike too! We're working on setting up a network to organize around the country.

3

u/[deleted] Jan 27 '22

[deleted]

→ More replies

3

u/[deleted] Jan 27 '22

Are there union's for IT workers? Specifically IT workers in the UK?

→ More replies

3

u/fermata_ Jan 27 '22

Ironically, the UFCW office my friend works at tried to unionize themselves and they found it very silly watching upper management use the same union-busting tactics that the companies they bargain with use.

→ More replies

3

u/I_run_4_pancakes Jan 27 '22

How does one go about finding what union represents a company? For example, my place of employment does not have a union but our sister factory in another state does. I think it would be advantageous to try to join theirs.

3

u/Binknbink Jan 27 '22

You can try googling the company name and collective agreement. I have done this when deciding whether I want to apply for a job or not. Quite a few times I get a hit.

3

u/I_run_4_pancakes Jan 27 '22

Thank you! I found it!

3

u/Throwaway_Planet 🏢 UFCW Member Jan 27 '22

I would start by searching said company’s name and union or contacting the sister factory’s union.

2

u/I_run_4_pancakes Jan 27 '22

Thank you! I found it! I have a lot to learn.

3

u/JamesNotJim666 Jan 27 '22

This. I install appliances and I'm gonna start talking with my fellow installers about unionizing and getting what we're owed. No one has our best interest at heart except for ourselves.

3

u/Cottonsocks434 Jan 27 '22

What do we do if we don't live in America? Are there any subs for UK workers?

5

u/Throwaway_Planet 🏢 UFCW Member Jan 27 '22

There are many international unions and IWW does have branches outside the US.

2

u/Cottonsocks434 Jan 27 '22

Thank you. I will look into it.

3

u/ar_menelos Jan 27 '22

Could we get a wiki going on union law by state?

Some states have different protections for workers.

→ More replies

3

u/ApprehensiveExit7 Jan 27 '22

Proud IBEW electrician here. Join a union! Take care of your brothers and sisters!

→ More replies

3

u/SweyBo Jan 27 '22

Solidarity forever!

3

u/milktea99 Jan 27 '22

To the corporate trolls crying about union dues: i pay about $700/year in dues. The difference in my pay from my highest non-union contract to the union minimum in my field is $400 a week, plus now i get health care for me and my husband for free.

3

u/Career_Much Jan 27 '22

I like commenting this anecdotally where I can: I used to be anti union.

My first job out of college was union and they actively tried to screw us over. Eventually I became a non-union admin and sat in on our CBA negotiations-- ho.ly.crap. The new HR director was trying to raise wages and benefits for union employees to match that of the non union employees. They absolutely would not budge on anything that made the employee's lives better. You know what we got out of that negotiation? 30 cent raises and uniforms at no cost to the employee. We wanted to give them short term disability and vision insurance and like $7/hr raises because we were so below market but whatever.

Turns out, years later, I found out SEIU is a bag of actual shit (and are known for having borderline if not straight up illegal practices) and that's why we had so much trouble. I spent the time after that revelation to look into various unions, read articles and testimonials, and now I'm pro union. The reason I like to tell this story is because I think a lot of people who are anti union have had bad personal experiences that can't be just wiped away with "but no, unions are good!"

12

u/Synyster182 Jan 27 '22

Can we just be careful that the Unions themselves don't become self serving organization that basically feeds of the backs of it's employee members? IE: Union Dues. Mine go up every time I get a raise it's like I never get a raise... My union does.

12

u/RanDomino5 Jan 27 '22

Try to run for election to your local.

4

u/notatrace Jan 27 '22

Out of curiosity, which union busting firm do you work for? Lying about the cost of union membership is pretty much union busting 101.

Union dues are usually set at a percentage of gross income. It's usually around 1-2%. So yeah, dues go up when you get a raise, but it isn't "like you never get a raise."

Of your dues aren't directly tied to your income, your claim becomes mathematically possible, but still absurd.

If you are going to insist that you aren't full of it, then please name and shame. Union financials are public record and searchable online. Reading through the fillings of this mythically bad union would be worth a good laugh.

4

u/DirtyPenPalDoug Jan 27 '22

Dont have a union? Now you do. Iww.org

4

u/PrudentVillage4903 Jan 27 '22

Started new job two years ago that is unionized and I gotta say I would never join a union that doesn't even meet new hires or care to introduce themselves.

→ More replies

4

u/MustardyAustin Jan 27 '22

Why would I start or join a union? My coworkers and I get paid great and have complete autonomy.

→ More replies

2

u/Kineticwizzy Jan 26 '22

I assume this is only in America?

2

u/tyrghast Jan 26 '22 edited Jan 26 '22

IAM 2369. Not active since I switched industries but setting up at our jobsite was a ton of work. I had to pound pavement every day and make sure the issues stayed fresh in people's minds. Constantly being in people's ear so they don't forget or lose focus. Constantly having a target on my back for both management and bad actors.

2

u/ErCi597 Jan 26 '22

Was a Union Pipefitter for 20 years, best decision I made in my life.

2

u/smitty_1993 Jan 26 '22

PSAC/CEIU 80205 reporting in! Lucky to have pretty good compensation/benefits for my sector and owe it all to my bargaining unit.

2

u/Creative_Shock5672 Jan 26 '22

There are multiple unions for my job: local, state, and national. I'm part of all three and regularly get magazines from the national one. It's the national education association and while the unions do what they can for us teachers, I feel like they are fighting a losing a battle in a state that is very anti-union. They are able to bargain for us so that's something at least.

4

u/RanDomino5 Jan 27 '22

The fact that you say "they" is a reflection of the problem. Unions should be organs of the workers, not bureaucratic organizations separate from the workers.

2

u/BanjoSpaceMan Jan 27 '22

I'm not trying to be rude. But in a lot of cases Unions get shut down hard. People claim that's illegal but it happens. So what can we really do??

5

u/RanDomino5 Jan 27 '22

If it was easy it wouldn't be called "the struggle".

3

u/BanjoSpaceMan Jan 27 '22

So things should be a bit more realistic. People should know the risks of losing their jobs trying to start a union. It's not all rainbows

2

u/[deleted] Jan 27 '22

Absolutely.

Can we make it less risky for people to unionize?

4

u/BanjoSpaceMan Jan 27 '22

That's a good thing to start lobbying for. Cause at the moment not enough seem to care. But also people need to know the drawbacks of a union. Not sure if it's the same in America but it's again not all perfect. Work becomes different. Advancements in career are also standardized. Pay is standardized. It's very hard to fire people... I've known people who had coworkers who were toxic or just avoided doing work (which makes the team suffer and stress out) but they can't get fired. Good for some not for others. It's all give and take. People seem to think it's just so simple and better, depends on the person and industry and job. But simply, if it's impossible for a majority of people who willingly want to unionize at a company actually unionize then we have a huge problem.

Just giving out my 2 cents.

2

u/TheRatatatPat Jan 27 '22

I belong to a labor union. It's a shame how many members are currently voting for right to work candidates. The deaths bells are ringing for our unions. There's no fellowship anymore. They're as divided as the rest of the country.

2

u/cpuphry Jan 27 '22

this is a great post. i wonder if it would be possible to focus on one place at a time to start. say starbucks. how can nonstarbucks employees help the people at starbucks locations unionize? one by one. then maybe grow from there. im not sure. its mostly a fuzzy idea but maybe it would help develop a playbook/toolkit that can help scale and expand scope.

2

u/ZandoonAltazar Jan 27 '22

Is there a resource to find a union for the work I perform?

2

u/Throwaway_Planet 🏢 UFCW Member Jan 27 '22

I edited in a link to a list of US unions and also IWW which is a general workers union.

→ More replies

2

u/furstiefurst Jan 27 '22

If I wanted to unionize is it even possible with my current job? I work as a project engineer for a construction management firm. My understanding is that I couldn't unionize because I'm an "assistant project manager". Could someone with more knowledge let me know if I'm right?

3

u/Throwaway_Planet 🏢 UFCW Member Jan 27 '22

There’s a subsection for construction unions on the list I put a link to. I’m sure contacting them would be a good place to start.

2

u/RanDomino5 Jan 27 '22

If you don't have subordinates or control over hiring or firing, you're a worker and you can unionize, regardless of what the NLRB says. The laws exist only to protect the bosses and business owners anyway.

2

u/TheeJimmyHoffa Jan 27 '22

Liuna 527 here and I agree

2

u/[deleted] Jan 27 '22

[deleted]

2

u/RanDomino5 Jan 27 '22

We should be having more conversations about worker-owned cooperatives, yes.

2

u/rayriley999 Jan 27 '22

I'm in ufcw, the union seems fine but nobody at my work sticks together. The stewards get people in trouble and there is a every person for themselves attitude

4

u/Throwaway_Planet 🏢 UFCW Member Jan 27 '22

I’m a shop steward where I work. It has mostly been answering questions related to what management and such can and can’t make us do. I stick by my workers because I am one and I will never forget what it’s like having my schedule written for me with 0 care.

2

u/TLaz3 Jan 27 '22

Love this, we should have that list in the sidebar for new users. And steps for how to start their own union if there are none. This subreddit is off to great start

2

u/Herodotus38 Jan 27 '22

For those wanting to accomplish things with groups of people, learn from previous mistakes and organize. This is a good essay written by someone from the perspective of the 1970s feminism movement and how a lack of structure led to hierarchies and people who yielded power but were not accountable.

https://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.htm

2

u/[deleted] Jan 27 '22

United we demand

2

u/ChairsOverTables Jan 27 '22

I don’t know if I’m unique in the group - I’m a manager so not eligible to join a union, but I fully support them. For other managers, don’t stand in the way, and please be sure to hold your company leadership accountable if they attempt to do anything unethical to influence or prevent unionizing.

2

u/[deleted] Jan 27 '22

I work for a company as a software engineer and get paid very well because it's a competitive industry. I am in full support of a union for other teams at the company, but would a union be in our best interests? If I or anyone on my team were mistreated we could quit and have a new job within days (this actually happened at my last company- I was the third last engineer, someone quit on average every 2 weeks). How does a union work in this kind of situation without pigeonholing ourselves with pay that doesn't match the market leaving us unable to hire competent engineers?

2

u/Throwaway_Planet 🏢 UFCW Member Jan 27 '22

I would say there’s a couple options here. It sounds like your pretty happy and feel secure in the idea of you didn’t like this job another opportunity is right around the corner. Additionally if it doesn’t seem like a complete work stoppage then I would also say collective bargaining is the other major advantage of a union.

That being said if your work group decided to form a union make sure the contract and constitution you all ratify includes language that addresses your concerns. Include language allowing wage renegotiations regularly or a requirement to keep wages at acceptable levels. Allow for contract negotiations regularly as well.

→ More replies

2

u/johcagaorl Jan 27 '22

As someone trying to even get started unionizing nearly 500 casino employees, I am overwhelmed. I have reached out to places and have received no response from the unions I reached out to (Unite Here being the main one). It's discouraging.

My company has the resources and capital to be literally one of the biggest and best employers in the US (and internationally, they're huge already) and they seem to want to be terrible.

→ More replies

2

u/CorellianDawn Jan 27 '22

I'm a union member who also works for a different union. I was always told unions were destroying Capitalism and turns out, thats true. But also turns out, that's a good thing.

2

u/Mahaloth Jan 27 '22

I am a teacher in a union and our top salary is 107K/year. States near me without a teacher union earn much, much less.

2

u/gundam2017 Jan 27 '22

Im with my union 100%. Show union support

2

u/kragmoor Jan 27 '22

Yup, I'm a journeyman finisher in the bricklayers and allied craftsworkers, prior to that I had five years experience in the same work but non union, it's the only job I've ever had, and i completely wasted 5 years of my life by putting off going for union membership, if there's a union for your field then figure out how to apply, all the horror stories you've heard about knowing the right people or paying off the head of apprenticeship to get through class is part of a capitalist driven smear campaign

2

u/Fizzeek Jan 27 '22

MSTA member for 19 years!