WHY ORGANIZE A UNION
Without a union, an employer can unilaterally change its employees’
pay, pension, sick leave or vacation accrual time, and even medical insurance
benefits. (Check the fine print in the
Company’s handbook). A union contract language stops
An employer can change virtually anything they choose, such as working
conditions, pay level, or even dismiss an employee without just cause. But, in a unionized workplace, management is legally
obligated to bargain with the employees’ union over working conditions and
level of pay and benefits and may not discipline employees arbitrarily and
without due process.
A union contract is a legally binding document- signed by both
management and the employees’ union-that spells out an employee’s rights and
benefits, as well as a process for addressing employee grievances. Right now, the Company won’t give you anything in writing;
just ask them.
Many workers organize unions to gain some control over their work
lives, where many of them spend half or even more of their waking hours. Often,
these employees are seeking some way to ensure fairness and dignity on the job.
They often find that a great tool for obtaining these goals is a good union
contract. The Company knows if there is no contract,
they can change or take away anything they want at any time.
The employees represented by Local 406, prides itself on achieving
contracts that are based on input from everyone in the department. Every department represented by Local 406 has its own
When we join unions, we’re better able to own homes, send our children
to college and get the healthcare and retirement security our families need. Some of the highest salaries on Long
Island belong to Local 406 members.
Some Myths and Facts about Unions:
Myth: Unions are outside, special-interest groups.
Workers are the union. A union is simply a democratic organization of working
people standing up for their rights on the job and in society. Unions also
bring people together in the community to stand up for issues that matter to
all working people.
Myth: Unions mean more conflict in the workplace.
can make the workplace a more harmonious place to work. A union contract allows
the company and workers to sit down as equals and discuss problems as they come
up. Without a union, workers’ lives are often in more turmoil because they have
to deal with more favoritism and less economic security.
Myth: Unions force workers out on strike often.
vote whether or not to strike. Ninety-seven percent of contract negotiations
are settled without a strike. No one ever wants a strike.
Myth: Companies close due to unions.
close for economic reasons- and the vast majority of companies that close are
non-union. Some companies, however, like to keep this myth alive. Half of
employers illegally threaten workers who form a union by saying the plant will
close, though only 1 percent of newly organized plants do close, according to
Cornell scholar Kate Bronfenrenner. Studies have
shown that, in fact, unions help decrease employee turnover and can increase
Myth: Unions just want workers’ dues.
that workers pay in dues goes back into running the organization-unions are not
for-profit organizations. The improvements workers win in pay, benefits and
fair treatment through their unions are far greater than the cost of dues. Dues
levels are set by each union through a democratic process.
Myth: Most union bosses are corrupt.
a tragic situation when a trusted leader betrays the membership in any kind of
organization. However, for every high-profile story that is in the media about
a corrupt union leader, there are tens of thousands of regular, honest leaders
who are never profiled. During a union organizing campaign, the employer drags
out stories of corruption, never telling the whole story. It’s all part of its
campaign of deception.
Myth: Unions used to be effective, but they’re not
are still by far the best way for working people to win economic security and
have a voice on the job. The numbers tell the story: Unions members make 25%
percent more in wages than workers who don’t have a union. Women and African
American workers with a union make 30% percent more, and that union difference
rises to 45% percent for Latino workers. Union members are much more likely to
have a defined-benefit pension plan and health care than workers without
unions. Unions also curb discrimination on the job, keep the workplace safe and
give workers a voice.
What Unions Do
Unions guarantee rewards for hard work and initiative.
* Workers with unions earn an average 25 percent more than do workers
without a union.
* Seventy-three percent of union members in the private industry get
health benefits on the job, compared with about half of workers without unions.
* Seventy percent of union members in medium and large private
companies are covered by defined-benefit pensions that guarantee a benefit,
compared with only 16 percent of workers without a union.
Unions help remedy discrimination in the workplace.
* Union contracts raise earnings by 30 percent for working women and
African americans and 45 percent for Latinos.
*Union contracts help make sure that
everyone is treated fairly and equally on the job.
Unions raise living standards for the whole community.
* For decades, union membership paved the way to a strong and growing
middle class. As union membership declined, the gap between the wealthy and
everyone else grew.
* Better wages and benefits through unions mean that more families can
make it on their own in the community-and the wage and benefit floor is lifted
* Studies show that states where many of the workers have union are
also states with lower poverty rates, better schools and less crime.
Unions make America work better.
* Unions raise professional standards. Union workers have a say in
decisions that affect the quality of the products they make and the services
they deliver. Unions train more workers each year than any organization outside
the U.S. Military.
* Studies show that by lowering turnover rates and giving workers a
voice in how work is done, unions raise productivity by 19 to 24 percent in
manufacturing, 17 to 38 percent in construction and up to 16 percent in
* Unions help make sure our nation prioritizes working people’s
issues-they hold corporations accountable, make workplaces safe, protect Social
Security and retirement, fight for quality health care and make sure working
people have time to spend with their families. If unions weren’t out there
fighting for these issues, who would be?
“CONSULTANTS/UNION BUSTERS” WILL TELL MANAGEMENT/ADMINISTRATORS TO DO
Letter, Letters and More Letters: The “Consultants/Union Busters” will write lots of letters during the
campaign. Only, they will be signed not by the “Consultants/Union Busters”, but
by the company president, facility/company administrators and some well liked
managers and supervisors.
Love Letters: Some
letters will say how much the management/administration really appreciates the
work employees have done for the facility/company. Some might even admit past
The Ugly Union Letters: Most of the letters will paint an ugly picture of Local 406 and the
GCIU. They want you to think the Union has a
lot to hide. They will never give the Union credit for anything it has achieved
at other Tribune owned facilities such as (Newsday- NY,
Allentown-Pa, Stanford-Con, Baltimore-Ma, and Chicago-IL.)
Supervisor Pressure: The “Consultants/Union Busters” will use
supervisors as the front line troops against the Union-delivering letters,
informal chats and even speeches prepared by the “Consultants/Union Busters”.
Love Offerings: The
“Consultants/Union Busters” will tell management to hand out larger than
expected wage increases and/or improved benefits. They might establish or
revise employee participation committees. They want to show you that you don’t
need a Union to get things done. The point is
to convince you that the boss is really a good person who can be trusted in the
A Helping Hand:
The “Consultants/Union Busters” will tell management to start correcting
problems: Big things and nagging little things will now be fixed. Management
will solicit and settle grievances.