If you are interested in organizing your workplace, The NewsGuild will help you build support among you and your coworkers. A Federal law gives employees the right to organize and the rights of employees are protected by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). But, the interpretation and enforcement of the laws and rights are subject to politics and the courts.
Therefore, it is best to get in touch with us before speaking with coworkers about forming a union where you work. Experience has shown that to create a successful campaign, it is important that you and your coworkers take the lead in the organizing. Staff members at The NewsGuild will provide you with support and guidance throughout the process of forming your union.
Here’s a brief summary of the process:
Talk to a professional from The NewsGuild staff. The law provides certain rights to employees and employers. These laws are enforced by the NLRB, through a process that can be difficult for new comers to navigate. Our expertise will help maximize the chances of a successful organizing campaign and minimize the chances of unfair treatment of you and any coworkers for attempting to organize your workplace.
“Map” the workplace. Working with a TNG organizer, identify all the workers at your workplace as well as who the supervisors and managers are. This information will be essential in determining who to talk to. Find like-minded workers. Have a few face-to-face conversations with coworkers you trust. Do they share your concerns? What can you identify as the most important workplace issues for you and your coworkers?
Build an organizing committee. If there is support for a union and common key workplace issues, then you should be able to build a committee of co-workers that is representative of your workplace. Ideally, the number of workers on your committee should be at least 10 percent of the workforce, with a group that represents all the employees. A strong and representative inside organizing committee is critical to building the support you will need to establish your union. Remember, The NewsGuild and the CWA will give you guidance and support every step of the way.
In the early stages of organizing, here are some key points:
What you should do:
- Have private face-to-face conversations.
- Listen to the concerns of your co-workers.
- Seek answers from TNG.
What to avoid:
- Mass meetings
Once management learns of union organizing, they will launch a union avoidance campaign. The longer you can keep the organizing quiet, the more time you will have to prepare for this campaign.
Build majority support. After building your committee and identifying key issues, the “public” phase of the campaign will begin. Through one-on-one discussions with others in the workplace, the committee will evaluate the support that exists for The NewsGuild around the key issues. Remember, discussions about a union are restricted to non-work time, during breaks. For those working on-site, any discussions about forming a union must take place in non-working locations (lunchrooms, bathrooms), or away from company property. Getting fellow employees to sign a public petition supporting The NewsGuild has shown to be the best indicator of a successful organizing campaign.
The employer campaign. Once management learns of a campaign, almost every employer will launch its own campaign against organizing a union. Our staff will help prepare the committee for the various methods that can be used. In most cases, employers will use a variety of tactics to prevent you from organizing a union, many designed to create conflict, divide union supporters, and create an atmosphere of fear.
Here are just some of the most widely used (and many illegal) tactics:
- Predicting layoffs or plant/office closings if you vote for union representation.
- Scaring employees with warnings of strikes or violence.
- Intimidating union supporters with suggestions of firings and or disciplinary action.
- Labeling the union that you and your co-workers are attempting to organize as an outside organization or third party that will come in and make decisions for you and your co-workers.
- Making inaccurate and misleading statements about the union or union dues.
- Asking for another chance to improve working conditions.
Winning a union. The organizing process, when done correctly does not create a union. Rather, it proves that a union already exists. TNG organizers will guide you through the process but in the end, the union will be run and controlled by the workers themselves.