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What is Union Busting?

Union Mythbusting

It’s illegal for employers to force you from unionizing — but that doesn’t always stop them from trying anyway.

No matter how benevolent or progressive they act, your employer will tell you anything to convince you not to start a union with your coworkers. And once you see enough union-busting campaigns from employers, you start to pick up some patterns. 

We’re used to seeing companies run back the same tired playbook of myths and lies about how unions do and don’t work — but if you don’t see them coming, your coworkers could still fall for these tricks. But like any myth, they’re easily debunked. 

You can expect to hear all of these myths in captive audience meetings and in conversations with management — so watch these clips and share them with your coworkers so they can know these myths before the company tries to spread them at your workplace!

Myth 1: “Unions are a third party”

Companies love to tell us that when a union comes to a workplace, it takes away the direct relationship we have with our managers, even if we like them. This just isn’t true. 

First, there is no such thing as a union contract that prevents you from talking to your manager. In fact, when policies are clearly defined by a union contract, it can help you and your managers stay on the same page at work. 

What’s more, is if your manager is trying to discipline you unfairly, you have the right to a union representative to back you up in any meeting you might have. 

Myth 2: “We’re not anti-union… BUT”

It is always your right to unionize, and while it’s illegal for your employer to stop you from exercising that right, they absolutely can and will gaslight you with junk like this: they’ll often be sure to stress that the decision you make is deeply personal — and then list a thousand reasons why they think you’re better off without a union. 

There are all kinds of ways they say it: “a union may be necessary at other companies, but ours is different!” or “a union isn’t in your best self-interest”. But at the end of the day, what they really mean is “we don’t want to give up any power at this workplace.” 

Myth 3: “Unions are outdated”

Employers like to paint this picture of unions as historical institutions that have lost their use in the 21st century. The truth is that we’re seeing a rise in union activity to deal with new problems in the modern workforce. 

Today, union workers have been fighting for safe conditions and fair pay during a global pandemic, against needless automation, and to secure dignity and fair conditions for workers in the modern gig economy. 

The nature of work will always be changing, and we will always deserve a seat at the table for how those changes are made. One more thing that will always stay the same: your employer will give you more when you stand up and ask for it.

Myth 4: “Unions can’t guarantee what they promise you”

Myth 4: “Unions can’t guarantee what they promise you”

What a union promises you is a seat at the table to negotiate with your employer over your working conditions, wages, and benefits. If you aren’t getting what you need at the bargaining table, it’s because your employer isn’t giving it to you. 

So when your employer tells you that unions give empty promises, they’re really telling you they have no intention of giving you what you’re asking for. 

But when you start a union, they have to bargain in good faith with you over all of these things. 

Myth 5: “All unions care about is dues”

After you vote to start a union at your workplace, you begin the process of bargaining your first union contract, where you can set higher pay scales and other benefits that improve your quality of life at work and in the rest of your life. 

And until you and your coworkers sign off on that first contract, you don’t pay a cent of union dues. Ask yourself this: would you vote for a union contract that leaves you with less than you started with than before? No. We think that would be dumb too, which is why we strive to empower each other to bargain for the best contracts we can as UFCW members.

Organize and unionize your workplace

Are you and your coworkers ready to negotiate together for bigger paychecks, stronger benefits and better lives? If you are, the steps to joining the UFCW are simple.

How to Start a Union
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