By uniting with others who do the same type of work, employees have a stronger voice on the job and in your community.
- Working together, union members have the strength to win better wages, affordable health care, a secure retirement, and safer workplaces.
- The “union advantage” is substantial. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, union members are much more likely to have health benefits and pensions.
- For people of color and women workers, the union impact is even greater. Women workers who are union members earn nearly $9,000 a year more than their non-union counterparts. For African-American workers, the union differential is also about $9,000, and for Latino workers the yearly advantage is more than $11,000.
- By joining together, we can build strength to hold our elected officials accountable and stop the “race to the bottom” by employers who cut wages and benefits whenever there is a budget crisis.
Rank and file members become union stewards to make sure management follows the union contract.
How could a union help me?
- Without a union, workers are “employees at will.” That means your boss makes all of the decisions about how people are treated. Management is free to change your working conditions at any time, for just about any reason.
- With a union, you gain the right to bargain as a group over your pay and working conditions. The right to negotiate with your employer gives everyone a meaningful voice — not only in your terms and conditions of employment — but in your day-to-day work life.
- A union contract spells out in writing your pay, benefits, promotions, holidays and vacations, etc. The union contract has job security and grievance provisions. It is enforceable in a court of law.
How do I join? Massachusetts has “majority sign up recognition” for public employees. When a majority of your co-workers sign a petition or cards clearly indicating that you desire collective bargaining on wages and working conditions, your employer is obligated to recognize your union. For workers in the private sector, you follow the secret ballot election process administered by the National Labor Relations Board.
But forming a union isn’t just “signing up.” Forming a union means sticking together for the betterment of all and building an on-the-job organization with chapter chairs and stewards to make sure that everyone is respected and the contract is followed.
Is it safe to organize a union? Could I lose my job? It is against the law for an employer to retaliate or discriminate against any employee who promotes or organizes a union. In the rare case where an employee is discriminated against, the employee or the union can file charges with the state’s Department of Labor Relations or with the National Labor Relations Board.
How much does a union cost? What are dues for? A union is a workplace organization that is of, by and for its members. Members pay dues to support and sustain the mission of the union. Dues pay for support staff who assist members to negotiate their union contract and make sure the employer abides by it. SEIU Local 888’s dues are 1.6 percent of your base pay. Members don’t pay dues until the first contract is negotiated and ratified by a majority vote of the membership. If you value your job and want a career with job security, dues are a small price to pay.
Click here to download or print a short brochure about forming a union with Local 888 to give to your co-workers, family or friends.
For more information about joining Local 888, contact Hersch Rothmel, Organizing Director at (617) 241-3388 or firstname.lastname@example.org.