If there is one piece of legal advice that I could get my clients to take, it would be to form a union where you work. Unfortunately, this is the most underutilized law and one of the least understood by employment attorneys.
What is a union?
Westchester N.Y. Labor & Employment Lawyer – Introduction to unions
Unions serve to ensure that groups of workers receive certain basic rights in the workplace, such as fair wages, benefits, and reasonable working conditions. Unions also balance the power between employer and employee for the purpose of protection and a positive work environment. If you and your coworkers want to form a union, certain steps must be taken. If you and your coworkers want to form a union, you should take the following steps:
What does a Union do?
Westchester N.Y. Labor & Employment Lawyer – What does a union do?
Want some statistics? Check out the report from the AFL-CIO here: http://dpeaflcio.org/wp-content/uploads/The-Union-Difference-for-Working-Families-2015.pdf
How do I form a union where I work?
The process of forming a union where you work is complicated. But we can help walk you through the process at no cost. Until you secure better working conditions guaranteed in writing that you and your coworkers approve, you do not pay one penny for the representation that we provide. If we do not deliver, then you do not pay!
If you want legal representation where you work, its simple:
Call El-Hag & Associates, P.C
(914) 218- 6190
Westchester New York Labor Lawyers
If you want to know the steps you must take, here is an overview:
1) Identify several coworkers that you are comfortable speaking with and ask them to speak with you after work to discuss workplace problems. If your coworkers meet and agree there are changes to be made, then this group of coworkers becomes your “organizing committee”.
2) Contact El-Hag & Associates, P.C to set up a meeting with your organizing committee. At this meeting the Union representatives will walk you through the process and explain the positives and negatives of unionization. If everyone at the meeting is interested, fully educated and want to take the next step, then they should fill out union authorization card and move to Step 3.
3) With the assistance of the Union representatives, you and the organizing committee must generate interest and support amongst your coworkers. The way to accomplish this goal is to help facilitate a meeting between you, your other coworkers and the Union representative. Every person must be fully educated about the Union before they should execute a union authorization card. If there is sufficient interest (around 75% to 80% of the workforce), then you are ready to formalize your Union.
4) The next step is to make your employer legally required to negotiate with your Union. Imagine for a moment if you were an employer. If a group of employees or a union representative approached you out of the nowhere and said we formed a union and we demand to negotiate with you, you would probably say “No”. This is the purpose of an election. If the employer will not recognize your legal right to bargain, then you need the government to legally require your employer to negotiate. This is generally accomplish through an election.
The National Labor Relations Board (http://www.nlrb.gov) is the government agency that oversees labor relations. In order to obtain an election, you or your union representatives must file the authorization cards that everyone filled out and file them with the National Labor Relations Board to petition for an election. Roughly 42 days after the petition for an election is filed, the National Labor Relations Board will conduct a secret ballot election at your workplace to decide if a majority of employees actually wish to be represented by a union. This election is secret ballot just like voting for the President of the United States. If a majority of the vote cast indicates that the majority wants to be represented by the Union, then the National Labor Relations Board certifies the Union, and your employer MUST bargain in good faith with the Union. This is the sole purpose of the election!
5) The final step is to negotiate a labor contract with your employer. You and your legal representative will sit down with your employer and begin the process of negotiating a labor contract that legally guarantees you your wages, benefits package and other terms and conditions of employment. Once a final agreement is reached, you and your coworkers vote on the contract to decide if the group wants to accept the proposal. Until a majority of votes cast agree to accept the contract, you do not become a member of the Union or have to pay anything to the Union. Only until you know exactly what you are getting in the contract and accept it, will you become a dues paying union member. You have nothing to lose!