Saturday, June 28, 2014

Steps to form our own independent local union - bargaining unit

To start the process toward the creation of a local union, we only need to collect a significant number of signatures by employees on "authorization cards" supporting such a creation.
Once we have such a number (at least 30% of the Tier 1s, including both shifts) we give those signed cards that are not divulged to the employer, to the Regional Office of the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) that will decide if we have enough names to organize an election (by comparing our list to the list of Tier 1 employees provided by the employer).

The names of the people who signed the 'petition' to create a union remain anonymous (the NLRB only says to the employer they have received a union petition involving at least 30% of the eligible employees) and the vote for the election is secret so no one is able to know who is for or against.

It is important not to discuss anything related to the union during the working hours and inside the lab. Reserve the discussions to the breaks outside of the lab and keep the info secret from management and the non-Tier1 employees. 
The goals of a local union will be to bargain collectively to improve our working conditions, obtain benefits (paid vacation, paid time off, health insurance, etc.)

Forming is a union is perfectly legal and is a protected activity (provided you respect the above mentioned restriction about not discussing within the workplace). As such the employer cannot harass you or fire you. If a person that is part of organizing is fired he/she can file a complaint with the NLRB for wrongful dismissal for retaliation, as was the case last year for one of our colleagues. A complaint was filed and the company paid a significant settlement to avoid litigation.

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