You have thought about joining a union, but you probably still have some questions about them. That’s very common. You’re about to take a big step in improving your workplace and you will want to have all of the facts as you get started. If you don’t find the answer to your questions here, you can always contact one of our Teamsters 362 Organizers who would be more than happy to answer. Here are some of the most common questions about unions.
Is it hard to form a union at work?
- If you aren’t familiar with labour unions, joining one at first can seem confusing. The truth is, is that there is a very straightforward process to join. Once you and enough employees sign membership cards, the Labour Board will hold a hearing and then you vote. For a more detailed description of the process visit the Unionization Process page.
Where do I even start?
- If you and your coworkers want to join a union, the best place to start is by contacting Teamsters 362. We will connect you with a Teamsters Organizer who can talk to you about the process and discuss the issues you’re facing in the workplace. Teamsters 362 will be with you every step of the way.
Can my employer find out who signed a card?
- Absolutely not. Although the company will know how many employees have signed cards after the Labour Board reviews them, they will not be able to find out the exact names of who has signed them.
Can I talk about unionizing with coworkers at work?
- Yes, you can. Your boss and managers cannot stop you from talking about unions with your coworkers at your workplace. You cannot let talking about unionization or signing union cards impede your work. Overall, it’s usually best to leave the union talk to the breakroom or outside of the workplace.
What will be included in our collective agreement?
- Your collective agreement is for you the employee, so it will be driven by what you want to see in your workplace. Your bargaining committee and your union representatives will identify the priorities and negotiate on your behalf. Your collective agreement will include important items such as seniority, vacations, conflict resolution, wages, benefits and more.
Can my company intimidate employees to stop unionization?
- No, and if they do, they are in big trouble. It’s completely illegal to fire, intimidate or threaten an employee if they are trying to unionize. In fact, if the Labour Board finds that employers have engaged in unfair practices, they will be able to grant certification of a union without the need for a vote.
Will we be going on strike often?
- Not at all. Strikes are always a last resort in labour disputes and we try to avoid them at all costs. As a member, you will never be forced into a strike. They are only taken if members vote to take it.
Why would I unionize if I like my boss?
- This is a good question. The answer is because your job is more than just your boss. Unions ensure no matter who is in a management position that your rights in the workplace are covered. It’s about your dignity in the workplace whether you like your boss or not.
What do union dues go towards?
- Teamsters Local 362 is a non-profit organization that receives its funding from the dues we collect from members. Those dues go towards the cost of staff, arbitration, mediators and is also set aside for a strike fund in the event one is necessary. It’s helpful to think of the dues as a protection plan for your job. We also invest in community initiatives that make workplaces and our province better for all workers. Your dues will never be used to make contributions to any electoral campaigns or the private benefit of any individual union employee.
Can employees take advantage of the protection of a union?
- Unions ensure that a workplace is fair for every employee, and that means making sure hard workers are protected by a collective agreement. This agreement outlines what is expected of them and the employer, and if a member is slacking off or behaving inappropriately, they are not following the agreement and management should correct that behaviour. Part of a fair workplace is making sure everyone contributes what they’re supposed to, this makes sure everyone wins.