As union members, we bargain collectively with our employers over wages, benefits, and rights. We have the best chance of receiving better wages, benefits and fair treatment in the workplace by bargaining collectively as a union. Most of us have very limited bargaining power as one person, but as a group, we are strong. And, with a good negotiated contract, we have legal protections we would not have otherwise. Under the employment at will doctrine, the cornerstone of American employment law, in general terms, unless we belong to a protected group, our employer has the right to discipline or terminate, with impunity, us for any reason -- even a bad one -- or for no reason at all. That's why it is sometimes called the fire at will doctrine. With a collective bargaining agreement, we have rights. Management must have "just cause" for any disciplinary action taken against a union employee. "Just cause" is spelled out in our union contract so that we know exactly what is expected of us. To get more facts and to review a comparison of Union vs. Non-Union, the IBEW International’s website includes facts, graphs, statistics and more.
In 1975, the Supreme Court ruled in the Weingarten decision, that an employee is entitled to have a union representative present during any interview which may result in his or her discipline. It is up to you to insist on union representation. If you fail to do so, you may waive your rights. "If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my union representative or steward be present at this meeting. If this discussion could lead to my being disciplined and you deny my request for representation, I choose not to answer any questions.
National Labor Relations Act
Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA") in 1935 to protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to curtail certain private sector labor and management practices, which can harm the general welfare of workers, businesses, and the economy. Under the NLRA, private-sector employees have the right to:
>Organize a union to negotiate with your employer concerning your wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.
>Form, join, or assist a union.
>Bargain collectively through representatives of the employees own choosing for a contract with your employer setting your wages, hours, benefits, and working conditions.
>Discuss your wages and benefits and other terms and conditions of employment or union organizing with your coworkers or a union.
>Take action with one or more coworkers to improve your conditions by, among other means, raising work-related complaints directly with your employer or with a government agency, and seeking help from a union.
>Strike and picket, depending on the purpose or means of the strike or the picketing.
>Choose not to do any of these activies, including joining or remaning a member of a union.
Employee Rights under the National Labor Relations Act
poster:www.nlrb.govIf you would like to join the IBEW and have a voice in your workplace,
please contact our office @ 1-800-423-9031