Organizing/Mobilizing

Organizing is the process of workers coming together to form a Union. If you are interested in organizing in your place of employment, CWA Local 1168 will provide you with guidance and the tools needed to successfully get your co-workers on board. We know from experience that the only groups of workers who are successful in forming Unions are the ones in which the workers themselves lead the campaign. We will work alongside you, teach you the methods and strategies you need to know, and provide you with resources along the way.

Start by giving us a call. We have dedicated staff that work with individuals from non-Unionized facilities. They are very knowledgeable about how to reach out to your co-workers and how to deal with the inevitable roadblocks your employer will try to impose. Our organizers will ask aboutthe issues you and other staff face in your workplace as well as some basics about the day-to-day operations of your facility. Our organizers will set up a meeting with you, and if possible, a couple of your co-workers. This meeting can happen anywhere you are comfortable meeting. It can also remain largely anonymous as we answer your initial questions.

When workers are organizing a Union in their place of employment, there are federal laws in place to protect you from any type of mistreatment including, but not limited to, harassment, unfair treatment, or even termination. All aspects of Unions and forming Unions are overseen by a government agency known as the National Labor Relations Board or NLRB. The following code refers to protection to those who unionize:

Sec. 7. [§ 157.] Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all of such activities except to the extent that such right may be affected by an agreement requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment as authorized in section 8(a)(3) [section 158(a)(3) of this title].

After an initial meeting, we will help you develop a safe plan to talk to other co-workers to see who may also be interested in forming a Union. This step will have the most components and may take the greatest amount of time in the entire process. There is a very systematic formula and it is a group effort; nothing will fall on one individual.

The ultimate goal we work for is being granted a vote by the NLRB. This entire process will not happen overnight. It may take as long as a few months to over one year. However, the CWA staff will be there to work with you throughout this process. You will never be alone.

Organizing a Union is legal and a protected right under the law, but you need to avoid tipping off management as long as possible. If your employer finds out too early in the process, it makes it easier for them to build a counter campaign. We can still fight them, but the entire process is easier the longer we hold off on telling them.

In most cases, employers will use a variety of tactics to prevent you from organizing a Union, many designed to create conflict, divide Union supporters, and create an atmosphere of fear. Here are just some of the most widely used (and many illegal) tactics:

  1. Predicting layoffs or facility closings if you vote for Union representation.
  2. Scaring employees with warnings of strikes or violence.
  3. Intimidating Union supporters with unspoken threats of firings and or disciplinary action.
  4. Labeling the Union that you and your co-workers are attempting to organize as an “outside” organization or “third party” that will come in and make decisions for you and your co-workers.
  5. Making inaccurate and misleading statements about the Union or Union dues.
  6. Asking for another chance to improve working conditions.
  7. What employers don’t want to talk about during their anti-Union campaign are your concerns – those key workplace issues that you and your organizing committee identified as reasons why you want a Union.

If you think you might be ready to stand up and establish your voice in the workplace, call us and ask to speak with a member of our organizing staff!

At this time, CWA Local 1168 is only organizing those who work in healthcare or healthcare related fields. If you are in another field and are interested in organizing, please call our office and we can put you in touch with the Union that can be most helpful to you!

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