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How To Start a Union

Starting a Union in 7 Easy Steps

Want to Start a Union at Your Workplace?

It’s our job to help with that. No matter your questions, we’re here to answer them and serve you.

No experience with unions? No problem. You can start a labor or trade union at almost any company as long as you and your coworkers decide your job would be better with a union to back you up.

Ready to learn how to unionize? Let’s go!

Hello Future Union Member

Take the first step towards unionizing

  • Are you already a member of UFCW and want to get in touch with us? Visit our contact us page instead!

  • Tell us more about yourself

  • Where do you work?

  • What brings you here today?

    Can you tell us more about your experience at work and what you want to improve there?
  • *By providing my cell phone number, I consent to receive blast text messages and robocalls on any topic from my local UFCW, International Union, and their affiliates. I reserve the right to opt-out at any time. We promise that we will not abuse your consent to text or call you.

Follow Start a Union!

We are going to have a voice at work. We work hard and we are asking for recognition, better pay, benefits, and a more predictable work schedule that allows us to better plan our lives.

– Keona Johnson, UFCW Local 368A, Albertsons

Pros and Cons of Having a Union

A union is a proven way to make your job better. When you have a union, you and your coworkers get to have a say in your wages, schedule, vacation policy, retirement plan, store safety, and anything else that impacts your life at work.

UFCW Union Advantage With a Union No Union
Better wages and regular raises Yes No
The ability to come together with your coworkers to negotiate your pay and benefits Yes No
Guaranteed hours and stable schedules Yes No
Affordable healthcare with coverage for prescriptions, dental and vision Yes No
Free college for you and your family Yes No
More paid vacation, holidays, and sick days Yes No
A dispute procedure that legally protects you against unfair discipline or dismissal Yes No
Protections against any harassment from management Yes No
Secure retirement and pension benefits Yes No
Seniority rights when it comes to scheduling, vacation and job security Yes No
Discounts on home & life insurance, travel, car rental, legal services, cell phones, and more Yes No
Respect in your workplace Yes No
Must accept unfair or unjust discipline No Yes

How To Start a Union At Your Workplace in 7 Steps

Step 1: Talk to Your Coworkers

A union is when workers join together to improve their jobs. Talk to your coworkers about wages, benefits and working conditions to see if they want to make them better, too.

Step 2: Talk to a Union Organizer

No matter your questions, we’re here to answer them and serve you. From learning how you can start a union to better understanding all the steps involved in negotiating a contract, we want you to have all the information you need.

Step 3: Start a Committee

With the help of a Union Organizer, you and your coworkers will build an organizing committee. This will be the key group of leaders at your workplace who feel strongest about the need to organize. Your committee will then work together to get more coworkers involved with the effort to win a union contract that makes everyone’s job better.

Step 4: Know Your Rights

Unions like the UFCW will bring you more control over your wages, benefits and workplace conditions. Companies would rather keep that control for themselves, so they often try to discourage employees from starting a union. Don’t worry, it is your right, protected by federal labor law, to start a union. You have the right to talk to your coworkers about starting a union and about workplace conditions, including pay.

Step 5: Sign Union Support Cards

Once a majority of your coworkers agree on the need to have a union, you will sign support cards. These cards declare that you want to start a union and have the UFCW as your partner at work to help negotiate better wages, benefits and working conditions.

Step 6: Vote!

Once a majority of your coworkers have signed union support cards, they are submitted to the National Labor Relations Board to request a union election. This part can take several weeks as the Board decides on an election date and determines who at your workplace can vote. If a majority of your coworkers vote YES at your election, your employer now has to recognize your union and bargain with you and your coworkers.

Step 7: Negotiate Your Contract

Congratulations! It’s time to get the benefits you deserve! UFCW and our negotiating team will begin working with you and your coworkers to negotiate your first union contract. You and your coworkers will have the opportunity to vote on the contract before it is finalized to ensure it has the benefits and value you deserve. After you’ve won your first contract, you can officially obtain UFCW membership!

Hear from Our Members about the Benefits of Having a Union

My union contract guarantees that I wasn’t penalized when I took maternity leave. When I returned to work my union made sure the company gave me my annual wage increase that I missed while on leave.

– Melissa Gutierrez, UFCW Local 1428, Rite Aid

I’m Ready To Start A Union

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