Raising Workplace Standards, Together.
People form unions because they want to make positive changes in their workplace. A union is a nonprofit employee organization—protected by law—that helps workers speak up in a unified voice for workplace improvements. By forming a union, employees can come together to bargain a legally-binding contract that ensures workers are treated fairly and that they have the tools they need to thrive—like a living wage, secure benefits, and a voice at the decision-making table.
A Voice on the Job
By bargaining for improvements like flexible working hours and sustainable workloads, union encourage work-life balance.
Issues That Are Important to You
Each workplace’s priorities are different. Our members have bargained for mechanisms to strengthen diversity and inclusion, subsidized transportation, consistent training, student debt repayment, and more.
How to Form a Union
People form unions because they want to make positive changes and gain protections in their workplace. Although work settings and issues vary, you can count on these 5 basic steps to create a union where you work. Remember that every step of the way, your right to form a union is protected under US law. Are you ready to get started?
Step 1: Talk to Coworkers / Gather Information
Step 2: Form the Organizing Committee
The Organizing Committee educates coworkers about what forming a union means, motivates coworkers to take action with confidence, identifies common workplace issues and helps plan how to build a union in your workplace. You will want the Organizing Committee to be representative of the whole workplace so you can communicate with all coworkers.
Step 3: Build Majority Support
Step 4: Make Your Union "Official"
Step 5: Win a Strong Union Contract
Contact our organizer to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT'S A UNION?
HOW DO I JOIN OR FORM A UNION?
If a large majority of co-workers show support by signing cards (or a petition), a request can be made to the National Labor Relations Board to conduct a secret ballot election. Alongside wages and benefits, our members have negotiated contract language around diversity and inclusion, paid days off after a traumatic event at work, consistent, accessible training, subsidized transportation or parking, and more
WHAT GOES INTO A UNION CONTRACT?
WHO RUNS THE UNION?
WHAT ARE MY LEGAL RIGHTS?
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), or Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC) for public employees, enforce employees’ legal right to form a union and protects them from retaliation. You also have the right to talk about the union at work when other non-work related talk is allowed or during non-work times such as breaks, meal times, or before or after work. It is against the law for your employer to ask you about your union activity or to threaten, harass, fire, discipline or discriminate against you because of union activity. When workers organize with OPEIU they can depend on support and back up if needed.
HOW WILL MY EMPLOYER REACT?
Most employers, even good ones, feel threatened when they find out employees want to share some power. Most will try to convince you not to form a union by using a variety of tactics designed to create doubt. However, we know that workplaces are actually stronger and more effective with a union. When staff are given respect at work, a living wage, and a seat at the table when decisions are made impacting the communities they serve, they’re able to focus their energy on their work and are less likely to leave for other opportunities.
HOW MUCH ARE DUES?
No one pays any dues until after your first contract is negotiated, voted on and approved by you and your coworkers. You get to see the results before paying any dues. The members decide the dues structure. Since 1994, the member-voted dues rate has been 1.5% of gross monthly salary – an easy way to figure this if $7.50 for every $500. There are no initiation fees for newly organized groups coming into the union. There are no other fees or assessments of any kind.
HOW ARE DUES SPENT?
OPEIU Local 8 is a non-profit employee organization that operates solely from member dues. The members decide how dues are spent and the budget is approved annually at Membership Assemblies. Dues are used to: Negotiate strong contracts, defend members and enforce contract rights, organize new members to improve bargaining strength in existing workplaces and to improve standards in a particular industry, train and support union activists, push for laws to protect and expand workers’ rights on the job, keep members informed through newsletters, union publications and the website, and provide educational opportunities for union members. No dues money is spend on political candidates; Local 8 has a separate voluntary Political Action Committee members can participate in and contribute to as they wish.
WHAT ABOUT STRIKES?
Join the Movement.
Union noun \yün-yən\
A union is a non-profit, employee organization – protected by law – where workers join together to improve and safeguard their wages, benefits and working conditions. A union also gives employees a way to achieve respect
and fairness on the job and a stronger voice to impact employer decisions.
How can I get started?
If you’re interested in forming a union, reach out to us to learn more about the process. Local 8 can provide the resources you’ll need to lay the foundation to build a strong union, and they have experience to help you draft a plan that makes sense for you and your coworkers.