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Get Organized

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Being a member of LIUNA today honors a heritage that began in 1903 when courageous workers overcame hostility, threats and violence to join together.  We honor that heritage through our struggles today-being heard in government, raising standards for workers and employers on the job, and reaching out to a new generation of workers yearning for a better life.  There are many rewards like better pay, benefits and working conditions. Whether it is going to work for an employer who already works with LIUNA, or joining with co-workers to organize and bring LIUNA into your workplace, you can join us.
The Five Basic Steps to Organizing a Union

Although every workplace is different and the needs of workers vary, there are some basic steps involved in winning a union voice on the job. Here's how it happens:

To begin organizing a union at your workplace there’s a simple starting point before going through the steps listed below: quietly talk to a few of your co-workers who you think may be interested in organizing.

This small group starts to privately discuss workplace issues, what is involved in organizing a union, and making plans to contact the Laborers. When you’re ready, contact us and a LIUNA representative will meet with the small group to answer your questions and help you develop a comprehensive organizing plan. 
Step 1: Build an Organizing Committee

Leaders are identified and an organizing committee representing all major departments and all shifts and reflecting the racial, ethnic and gender diversity in the workforce is established. Organizing committee training begins immediately. Committee members must be prepared to work hard to educate themselves and their co-workers about the union and to warn and educate co-workers about the impending management anti-union campaign. The organizing committee must be educated about workers’ right to organize and must understand LIUNA policies and principals of democracy and rank-and-file control.

Also at this step basic information about the workplace must be gathered including:

  • Workplace Structure: departments, work areas, jobs, shifts
  • Employee Information: name, address, phone, shift, job title, and department for each worker (employee list)
  • Employer Information: other locations, parent company, product(s), customers, union history

Step 2: Adopt an Issues Program

The committee develops a program of union demands (the improvements you are organizing to achieve) and a strategy for the union election campaign. A plan for highlighting the issues program in the workplace is carried out through various organizing campaign activities. 
Step 3: Sign-Up Majority on Union Cards

Your co-workers are asked to join LIUNA and support the union program by signing membership cards. The goal is to sign up a sizable majority. This "card campaign" should proceed quickly once begun and is necessary to hold a union election.
Step 4: Win the Union Election

The signed cards are used (and required) to petition the state or federal labor board to hold an election. It will take the labor board at least several weeks to determine who is eligible to vote and schedule the election. The union campaign must continue and intensify during the wait. If the union wins, the employer must recognize and bargain with the union. Winning a union election not only requires a strong, diverse organizing committee and a solid issues program, but there must also be a plan to fight the employer’s anti-union campaign.
Step 5: Negotiate a Contract

The organizing campaign does not let up after an election victory. The real goal of the campaign, a union contract (the document the union and the employer negotiate and sign, covering everything from wages to how disputes will be handled), is still to be achieved. Workers must be mobilized to support the union’s contract demands (decided by you and your co-workers) and pressure the employer to meet them.