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  • UNIONIZING 101
    Updated On: Jun 13, 2019

    Unionizing and Forming a Union Step-by-Step

    The IAM Union is here to assist employees and groups who want to unionize. The IAM Unionis also here to help negotiate your contract and provide you with all of the services the IAM Union has to offer. Unionizing a company is not easy: it requires hard work and persistence. The IAM Union is ready, willing, and able to work along side and support you and your co-workers efforts in unionizing your work place, but your time, energy and effort are the essential ingredients of success.

    Step 1- Receive contact from interested employees. Your co-workers contacted us first. We did not go to your company on a whim.

    Step 2 - We start identifying people to assist inside the facility(In-house committee). Their job is to keep you informed on where we are in the process, hand out any literature, and help get you answers to your questions. If you are interested in becoming a leader inside or you would just like to ask us questions, you can go to our Contact Us Form or call us toll free at 1-800 763-1301.

    Step 3 - Determine if there is genuine interest in forming a union by making contact with each employee. If, based upon a survey of every one of your co-workers, there is not broad-based support for forming a union, we will pull back. Again, the IAM Union is here to help you form a union, but we are responsible with our members’ resources and cannot and will not expend resources on a campaign if there is lack of interest among the employees. The IAM Union will help those that are serious. This is what the "A" card or "Authorization Card" looks like. This is how we gauge the support level of a group. Signing this card tells us you are ready and willing to unionize and want the IAM Union to represent you. ("A" card on left) This can also be done online through a confidential online form.

    Step 4 - If there is enough interest, the IAM Union will file a “Petition” for representation with the proper government agency. Depending on the unit, there are different petitions to file with different agencies. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the National Mediation Board (NMB), the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) or the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC).

    Petition example

    Step 5 - Determine if a “hearing” is needed to define the “unit”. Both the Company and the IAM Union need to determine who the group of employees are to be represented. There are certain individuals such as Supervisors that may not belong in the union. This step determines who is appropriate. Employers often drag their feet during this process, giving them more time to dissolve support.

    Step 6 - Once the “unit” is defined, we contact everyone in the unit to answer any questions they may have and again assess the level of support. If support diminishes, we will “pull the petition”. By pulling the petition instead of moving forward, you and your co-workers do not have to wait a full year to re-file if the support increases in the future. If the petition was not pulled and a secret ballot vote was conducted and lost, the IAM Union would have to wait a full year to start over with the process of helping you form a union.

    Step 7 - If the support is strong from the group, we will move forward in the process. We then ask the employer to voluntarily “recognize” the IAM Union. If the employer refuses, as is often the case, we will go forward to a secret ballot election.

    Secret Ballot 
    Election notice

    Step 8 - Once the vote takes place, the results will be communicated by the proper board agency and the election certified. If the employer voluntarily recognizes the IAM Union as the bargaining agent for the group, contract negotiations begin.

    The first step in negotiating a contract is surveying the employees to identify their issues and priorities. A negotiating committee, consisting of employees in the bargaining unit, meets with the Company and hammers out an agreement.
    If the employer does not “recognize” the IAM Union but the secret ballot election established the IAM Union by a vote of 50%+1 as the bargaining agent for the employees, the negotiating process is the same.

    Certification Letter

    Step 9 - Once a “tentative agreement” is reached, you and your co-workers will vote on whether to accept or reject the contract. It takes a simple majority to either accept or reject a contract offer.

    Step 10 - If the majority of the unit accepts the contract, congratulations, you are now a union under a collective bargaining agreement with the many protections and benefits you deserve.
    If the majority rejects the contract, both sides may return to the bargaining table to refine the terms and work out the differences. If both sides cannot agree on the new terms, you will vote on whether to strike the company or not. If 2/3 of the voting unit vote to strike, a strike may be called. In some cases the company returns to the bargaining table after the strike vote in order to avoid the strike because they know their employees are serious. If they don’t, you may have to strike to ensure your success. Ninety-eight percent (99%) of all IAM Union contracts are negotiated without a strike.