About : Join the Union!

Join the Union!

Over the last two years, more than 1,200 workers at four employers elected to join UFCW 951. By joining the union, these workers improved their livelihoods, have better benefits and are now treated with dignity and respect by their employers.

The Union Difference
Wages and Benefits
Stronger Communities
Job Security
Your Rights Under the Law




The Union Difference

Workers have elected to join UFCW 951 for a variety of reasons including:

• Guaranteed wage increases
• Quality health insurance at a reasonable cost
• A pension plan
• Extra pay for working extra hours
• Paid holidays
• Seniority rights
• Paid vacations
• Dignity and respect at work
• Fair treatment from management
• Better wages for positions with greater responsibility

Oftentimes, workers fall victim to employer neglect. This neglect can include a number of incidents, violations or outright abuse. Some of the most common workplace violations include; wage and hour violations; safety and health violations; sexual, age, race, religion, and disability discrimination; unfair treatment and favoritism to name a few.

Over the last two years, UFCW 951's organizing efforts resulted in more than 1,200 workers at four employers electing union representation - Valley City Linen, JBS, Pearson Foods and Steeltech LTD. In a short time, the union has made a significant difference in the lives of these workers. The union has assisted workers at non-union employers who are still fighting to organize their workplaces.

Read the information below to help determine if you need a union in your workplace. If you still have questions after reviewing the information, or if you'd like to speak to a UFCW 951 organizer, please call 800.999.0951 or email organizing@ufcwloca951.com. You information will be kept completely confidential.

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Wages and Benefits

Union members earn better wages and benefits than their non-union counterparts.. On average, union workers' wages are 30 percent higher than non-union workers. While only 14 percent of non-union workers have guaranteed pensions, 68 percent of union workers do.

More than 97 percent of union workers have jobs that provide affordable health insurance benefits. Only 85 percent of non-union workers are eligible for benefits. Even if non-union workers have access to benefits, the cost is so high workers find the plans unaffordable. Or, workers aren't scheduled enough hours to maintain benefits.

Union members are able to negotiate higher wages. The union wage benefit is greatest for people of color and women. Latino union workers earn almost 51 percent more than their nonunion counterparts. Union women earn almost 34 percent more than nonunion women. For African American workers, the union advantage is close to one percent.

Unions help employers create a more stable, productive workforce. Unionization means workers have a say in improving their work lives.

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Stronger Communities

A union contract establishes job protections and conditions for the people in your neighborhood. A contract's terms are not only a workers' conditions of employment, but they also become the protections needed for a family to afford a home, seek affordable health care, work reasonable hours, work safely, and plan for a meaningful retirement.

Some of the many protections provided in a union contract include:

• Wage schedules
• Dispute procedure
• Working conditions
• Overtime and premium pay
• Holiday pay
• Lunch and rest periods
• Paid time off
• Health care benefits
• Seniority rights

These guaranteed protections have a significant and positive effect on the health and safety of a neighborhood. When workers are treated and paid fairly, they become a positive influence in their communities and become an economic generating.

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Job Security

At-Will Employee vs. Just Cause
The biggest difference between a worker with a union contract and one without is job security.

At Will Employee (Non-Union)
• Your employer can fire you for any reason, at any time.
• Your employer can change your working conditions without your consent or knowledge. This includes your wages, benefits, time off, scheduling and more.

Just Cause Employee (Union)
• Your employer must prove you violated a work rule that resulted in your termination.
• Your employer cannot change any working conditions without negotiating them through your contract and you.

With union representation you're not an at-will employee. You're protected from arbitrary discipline and/or discharge by requiring your employer to have just cause to enact any discipline on a union member. Furthermore, an employer has to prove conditions for just cause were met. During any meeting with management, you have a legal right to have union representation with you by request. A union gives you peace of mind knowing your are protected by a legally binding contract that holds up in a court of law.

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Your Rights Under the Law

Talking About the Union at Work is Legal
As an employee, you have rights through both federal and state laws that allow you to seek and form a union in your workplace. Oftentimes, employers attempt to stop your progress. Here are some of the most common scenarios an employer will use to threaten, coerce or force you to stop educating others. All union communications at the workplace MUST occur "off-the-clock." An employer cannot:

• Threaten to fire, discharge or punish you for talking about a union to co-worker
• Change or eliminate your work assignments, reduce or change your work schedule, discontinue or threaten to end any benefits, or grant special favors to those opposed to the union and your efforts
• Make inquiries about confidential union matters, including meetings, representatives, intent, purposes or goals you may have, about the local union itself, how you intend to vote, if you have signed a card or if you support the union
• Create a work environment that prevents you from engaging in union activity
• If you feel you have already been subject to this treatment, contact an union organizer
 
Know Your Rights - The National Labor Relations Act Provides Legal Protections to Organize
It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States to...encourage the practice and procedure of collective bargaining and [to] protect exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self-organization and designation of representatives of their own choosing, for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment or other mutual aid or protection. - National Labor Relations Act.

Federal and state laws guarantee the right to form unions! Eligible employees have the right to express views on unions, to talk with co-workers about their interest in forming a union, to wear union buttons, to attend union meetings and in many other ways to exercise their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and freedom of associations.*

Despite these laws, many employers strongly resist their employees' efforts to gain a voice at work through unionization. So, before you start talking union where you work, get in touch with a organizer who can answer any questions or help you get started.

*Supervisors and a few other kinds of employees customarily are excluded from coverage.

A Union Contract Brings Dignity & Respect
Union organizers assist employees in forming unions on the job to give them the same opportunity for dignity and respect, good wages and decent working conditions that union members already have.

When workers decide they want to come together to improve their jobs, they work with a union to help them. Once a majority of workers show they want a union, sometimes employers honor the workers' choice. Often, the workers must ask the government to hold an election. If workers win an election for union representation, they can then negotiate a contract with the employer that spells out each party's rights and responsibilities in the workplace.

To get in touch with a union organizer, you can send an e-mail, or call 1.888.485.9671. Your inquiry will  be forwarded to UFCW 951 organizer; it will not be transmitted or disclosed to anyone, and is completely confidential!

Your Wages and the Law
The Wage and Hour Division is a branch of both federal and state government that investigates complaints alleging wage and hour violations. Wage and hour laws provide only a baseline of protection for workers. But, a union contract can provide comprehensive changes to improve wages and ensure workers receive fair working conditions and wages.

Wage and hour laws are often manipulated - or even ignored - by employers to accommodate their financial needs, usually at the expense of workers. Wage and hour laws should monitor youth employment standards, such as work hours and safe, non-hazardous working conditions, but employers sometimes let these standards slide. Other violations of wage laws are common, and can include non-payment of:

• Wages
• Fringe benefits
• State minimum wages
• Overtime
• Equal pay
• Prevailing wage disputes

Health & Safety - Your Job Should Not Be Dangerous!
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration [OSHA] is a branch of the federal government. In Michigan, the agency is called MIOSHA. MIOSHA investigates complaints alleging dangerous working conditions, and protects employees from on-the-job injuries, illnesses and deaths. OSHA laws provide baseline protections for workers. Only a union contract can provide comprehensive health and safety rules to protect you while you're working.

Health and safety laws can be manipulated by employers to accommodate productivity, often putting workers in harm's way. Violations of health and safety regulations could include being exposed to:

• Infectious diseases
• Injury or illness
• Dangerous structural conditions
• Unsafe food safety policies
• Unsanitary conditions
• Discrimination.
• Faulty equipment
• Chemicals
• Lack of personal protective equipment

Your Rights under OSHA
Under OSHA's laws, workers have the right to:

• Request OSHA inspect your work site
• Not be subjected to retaliation or discrimination if you request an inspection
• Receive information and training about unsafe working conditions in a language you can understand
• Receive copies of test results taken in your workplace
• Review work-related records of injuries and illnesses, including copies of affected person's medical records.

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