Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

*   What is a Union?

*   Will my employer know if I signed a card?

*   Why are the cards so secret?

*   What are my legal rights?

*   What can I expect in an organizing campaign?

*   What happens after we win the election?


What is a Union?

A union is formed when any group of employees decide they would like a say in their work terms and conditions. That group then approaches a known trade union such as TEAMSTERS seeking help. The Teamsters would then assist the group of employees through an election process. When the employees vote yes to elect the Teamsters as their representative, the Union then provides the technical “know-how” and strength to bargain collectively and effectively with your Employer to better your wages, terms and provisions of employment, working conditions and benefits.  Currently there are over 1.4 million members of the Teamsters Union in the United States and Canada.  Members are not only traditional truck drivers, but also warehouse, beer/soft drink workers, police, nurses, airline pilots, factory workers and many other types of employees.  The Teamsters Union is the most diversified Union in the world. 

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Will my employer know if I signed a card?

No. The cards are confidential.  The only way your employer knows if you signed a card is if YOU tell him. Cards are kept secure by the Union during the election process.


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Why are the cards so secret?

Because employers, no matter who they are, do not want a union in the workplace.  Employers want to keep total control and all of the profits.  Even though there are laws in effect to protect workers that want to form a union, the employer will go out of his way to bend rules and, in some instances, ignore the laws to intimate and discourage employees from forming or joining a union.  Keeping the cards secret will keep the employer off guard so they have less time to use their anti-union tactics.  If your employer violates the law, the Union will file unfair labor practices against them with the appropriate governmental agency.


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What are my legal rights?

The law provides that employees have the legal right to self-organization, to form, join or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all of such activities.  


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What can I expect in an organizing campaign?

Each campaign, or effort to join a union, is different.  But, each employer usually follows the same anti-union tactics to discourage employees.  During the campaign, your Employer will try the “Give me a second chance” act; the “Good guy approach”; then the “Tuff Guy, I’m the Boss method”. They will then hire an outside agency, which they call a “consulting firm” (which in reality they are union busting firms). The “consulting form will twist the facts and distort the truth to confuse employees into thinking that the “Union” is a “third party outsider” when in fact YOU, the employees, are the union.  A campaign is successful when the employees are informed and educated about the benefits of being organized and they stick together to achieve their ultimate goal.  


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What happens after we win the election?

All of the employees that were eligible to vote in the election, will also elect some of their co-workers to be on the contract negotiating committee.  This committee will be guided by the Union’s knowledgeable business representatives through the process to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement.  You would then vote whether or not you want to accept your contract.  Once the contract is accepted, your Employer then has to abide by all terms and conditions of the legal and binding agreement, which the Union enforces on your behalf.


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Last revised: March 1st, 2008