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Myths

You don't need a union because we'll take care of you.

Conditions may improve in the short term, but without a contract as soon as the effort to organize is over, things frequently return to where they were or even worse.

Management is hinting that we could lose the benefits we now have.

The purpose of forming a union is to win improvements in wages and benefits, not to lose them. We start with what we have and go up. On average, unionized workers earn a third more than non-union workers in wages and benefits. Occasionally in organized facilities workers agree to grant concessions to aid an ailing company, but this comes after years of winning improvements.

The employees vote on whether or not to accept a contract. Would you vote to accept a contract that took away your benefits? Think about it. If having a union meant that the employer could reduce your benefits, why would the employer be fighting the union so hard?

Besides, it is against the law for the employer to retaliate against the union by taking away wages or benefits.

Management says unions are bad and corrupt.

The employer would like you to think that unions are corrupt. The truth is that unions are decent, honest organizations dedicated to improving the lives of working people.

Nothing is perfect, and there have been examples of union officials who have not been honest. But the same is true of government officials and business leaders. There are a few bad apples in any group of people.

Telling you not to vote for a union because there have been some corrupt officials is like telling you never to work for a company because a company official has been corrupt.

The employer says the union can't guarantee us anything.

The union can guarantee this: that when workers stick together as a union they have more bargaining power and more of a voice than they do as individuals.

When the union wins, you will negotiate a contract with the employer. We can make no promises on what the contract will contain. That is for you to decide when you vote on your contract. We can guarantee that the contract will be legally binding, and the union will make sure the contract is enforced.

Management says the union is just after our dues money.

Dues are used to run your union and keep it strong. The dues are divided between the local union and the national union. The money is used to provide expert services to your local union, including negotiators, lawyers, economists, and educators; to pay the salaries of officers and staff, including organizers; to provide newsletters and conferences. The local union's money is used for reimbursing stewards for lost time, for the union hall, and for other expenses of your union.

Did you know that the employer also pays dues to organizations? Employers have their own ''unions" - such as the Chamber of Commerce or the National Association of Manufacturers. They pay for representation-why shouldn't you?

Besides, since when is the company so concerned about your money?

 

Management has hinted there will be a strike if we organize.

Management talks a lot about strikes during an organizing drive. Did they tell you that over 98% of union contracts are settled without a strike? There could only be a strike if the employees vote for the strike. And it's only smart to vote for a strike if you know you can win. The employer doesn't want a strike any more than the workers do, so everyone has an incentive to reach a compromise during bargaining.

Unions have developed a lot of other tactics that can put pressure on management to reach a fair agreement. For example, unions use boycotts or corporate campaigns or community support, rather than necessarily having to resort to striking.