The process of organizing and forming a union is not as complicated as you might think, though it does require time, patience and some hard work. The USW is here to help guide you through each of the following steps with professionals who have helped many workers in the past.
Step 1: Contact the USW
We recommend the first thing you do is contact the USW for assistance. We have full-time staff dedicated to assisting you and your co-workers. We can offer advice as how to proceed in a logical direction. The organizing hotline is 1-877-511-8792.
Step 2: Form a core group
A core group, also called an "Organizing Committee," will be the engine behind your effort. Its members should reflect a wide variety of jobs and backgrounds found within your workplace. This team will first learn all the legal do’s and don’ts, then work to educate co-workers.
Step 3: Devise a Strategy
Decide what it is you want and write down your goals. List specific changes you would like to see and build a list of all workers and their contact information. Once you know what it is you want, the USW can help you achieve these goals. The best strategy is one that is clear and concise, one that the company cannot refute, distort or dismiss.
Step 4: Build a Majority
Before your committee attempts to get members to sign on, it’s important to build a clear majority of support by helping co-workers identify with the issues clearly. The goal is to build a majority so that the next step - an election - will run smoothly.
Step 5: Hold an Election
Once enough cards have been signed, they are submitted to state or federal labor boards in order to obtain a "Petition to Hold Elections." Labor boards typically take a few weeks to approve this process. If the election is successful and your union is certified, the employer must recognize your USW local union.
Step 6: Bargain and sign a Contract
Once the election is won, the employer is legally obligated to bargain "in good faith" with the newly formed USW local union. Once this contract is agreed to by both parties and signed, it is legally binding. Unlike promises, contracts are enforceable under the law.
For more information, contact the USW at (877) 511-8792 or fill out this online form.