Personal Injury, Probate, Employment, & Complex Litigation


How to Form a Union

A union is a labor organization that represents employees that are members with the union in negotiating rates of pay, wages, hours of employment, or other conditions of employment with the employer.

Starting a union is scary as it can oftentimes make you a target for your employer (targeting a labor organizer is illegal but it does not mean it does not happen). However, if you feel strongly about your mistreatment, or even your desire for better treatment, it is the best way to go. You see, every employer possesses the vast majority of bargaining power in the employee/employer relationship. Virtually every employee is replaceable, but losing your entire workforce is a giant threat, especially when the government requires you to negotiate with them. As a result, as a whole, the union can negotiate better deals for the employees then the employees could on their own.

Now there are actually two ways to forming a union. Both involve the same first step. That first step is collecting support from your coworkers. If you collect 30% of the workforces support to unionize or more, you can go to the National Labor Relations Board and file a petition to be certified as a union. The NLRB will review your petition and determine if your group is legally allowed to be unionized. At the same time, they require the employer to post visibly at the place of work, and through electronic means, that there is a Petition for Election in process.

Once the petition clears and the group is deemed legally allowed to unionize, an agent of the NLRB will mediate a negotiation between the employees and the employer on when and how to run the election. If no agreement is reached, a hearing will be scheduled in which the NLRB will determine when/how the election will take place. Once the logistics are determined, the employer must notify all employees of the election and the NLRB then implements the election during the time and place proscribed. If a majority of the votes cast are for unionizing, the union is certified and acts as the exclusive negotiator for the unionized employees.

The second method is much easier. If during the initial collection of signatures, the organizer collects support from the majority of the employees, the organizer can go to the employer and request that the employer voluntarily certify the union. If the employer declines, then you follow the same steps as the first method. 

EmploymentEvan Cote