How A Union Works
A labor union is a democratic organization made up of a majority of the employees in a facility. The basic idea of a union is that by joining together with co-employees to form a union, workers have a greater ability through their strength in numbers to improve conditions at the worksite. In other words, “In unity there is strength.” The primary purpose of the union is to represent workers in their employment and to negotiate a contract that improves wages, benefits and working conditions and protects workers from unfair treatment. The basis of the contract negotiated with the employer is determined by the workers affected by the proposed contract. After the contract is negotiated, it can only take effect if it is voted on and ratified (approved) by a majority of the workers. Officers are nominated and elected from among the members of a Local Union. Any member who meets the qualifications for office may be nominated and elected to office within a Local Union. Elections are held for Local Union officers every three years. The International Union holds a convention every five years where delegates representing every local union in North America meet to propose and vote on changes to the Constitution and to the Union’s International leadership.