Here are the Seven Key Points you must understand if you want to win the right to negotiate a contract to protect and improve your wages, benefits, working conditions and job security.
1. You must first join your workplace Union Contract Committee and convince a majority of employees at your workplace to sign confidential “Union Authorization Cards.” These cards are never shown to management, and are turned over to the federal National Labor Relations Board. Your Contract Committee develops contract proposals and openly advocates for the effort. Once the Authorization Cards are filed with the NLRB, it conducts a secret-ballot election at your workplace within 42 days. The Union must win the election by one or more than half of those who vote
2. Management is forbidden by law from harassing, interrogating, or otherwise discriminating against anyone who publicly favors forming a Union. However, the trick of the law is that you must be able to prove that management absolutely knew you were in favor of the union (for example, if you make or sign a public statement that you and your co-workers need a union). Teamsters Local 445 has a strong reputation for filing charges against management for any misconduct.
3. You pay no union dues, and you are not a member of the union, until you vote by secret ballot to approve the contract. (That way,the contract has to be worth the dues before you accept it!!) Once you approve the contract, private-sector Teamster members pay two-and-a-half hours pay per month (for example, if you make $20 per hour, you pay $50 per month). There is NO INITIATION FEE or other hidden costs.
4. You cannot lose any pay or benefits you presently enjoy unless you vote to lose those benefits, (and that’s not going to happen!) Management will say things such as “Bargaining starts from scratch, and you could win, lose or draw even,” but what they are not telling you is that if you lose anything or draw even, you will never vote for such a contract!
After the election is won, you formally elect a Negotiating Committee and finalize your contract goals and priorities. This committee accompanies union professionals in every negotiating session with management. The Union professionals custom-design your contract proposal to make sure it fits your needs and solves your problems, however big or small.
6. When the contract is approved by your secret-ballot vote, Teamsters Local 445 Business Agents professionally enforce the contract, and the Union pays for any legal expenses involved in that enforcement. (For example, if you are wrongfully disciplined or fired, the Union provides the lawyers and takes care of the expense of the hearing and the judge, or arbitrator.
7. Teamsters Local 445 has not had a strike in many years, and we do not recommend that you ever vote for one. Only the employees at a workplace can vote for a strike. Don’t let management tell you “The Union will call you out on strike,” because it can’t! We have many non-strike strategies we can use to convince an employer to settle a contract favorably.