is a union?
A union is a group of employees who join together within
a company to bargain collectively for better wages, stronger
benefits and safer working conditions.
do unions do?
A union's primary objective is to secure good contracts
for its members and to enforce the provisions of that contract.
The union also administers some of the contract's important
benefits directly. Often these include health plans, pensions
and labor/management partnerships and trusts.
do you organize with the Teamsters?
Employees who want to join the Teamsters sign a "union
authorization card." When a majority of employees
sign cards, they are forwarded, in most cases, to the National
Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB then schedules and
conducts a secret ballot election. In some cases, when
a majority of workers sign cards the company will recognize
the union is certified, the company is required by law
to bargain over wages, benefits and working conditions.
The laws governing public sector and the airline industry
I sign an authorization do I have to vote yes in the
election? What if I change my mind?
The Teamsters are committed to organizing workers that
want Teamster representation. Organizing is not about holding
a vote; it is about gaining a voice in the workplace.
the NLRB conducts a union election it's a secret ballot.
No one has any right to know how you voted.
does the union work out problems with management?
Through the grievance procedure. The contract spells
out what the grievance procedures are and explains how
conflicts are to be resolved.
management engages in unfair conduct or violates a a provision
of the contract there are steps spelled out in the contract
to resolve the problem. First, talk with your supervisor.
When they refuse to do anything about it, go to your Teamster
shop steward to get help. The steward sits down with you
and management and tries to talk about the issue. If it
can't be resolved at this meeting, a business agent from
the union approaches the company to talk the issue over.
If the problem still cannot be resolved to everyone's satisfaction,
the business agent appeals to upper management. If this
step fails, both parties bring in a neutral arbitrator
to hear evidence and order a final resolution of the problem.
are shop stewards and business agents?
A shop steward is one of your co-workers, who acts
as an agent of the union in the workplace. The Union membership
and the Teamster local union determines procedures for
electing shop stewards and negotiates how many stewards
are in each job location, shift and department. The Steward's
job is to make sure your company lives up to your contract.
When there is a problem with management and you need union
help, your first stop should be a visit with your shop
business agent is an official of your local union who handles
any problems the shop steward cannot.
is a "bargaining unit"?
bargaining unit is made up of all the employees who are
eligible to vote for and be in the union.
negotiates your contract?
The Teamsters and the company each choose their own
negotiators. The company's team is usually comprised of
lawyers, local management and upper management officials.
The union team usually consists of bargaining unit employees
and expert union negotiators.
kind of say do I get in the contract?
Before contract talks start, the union asks you what
you'd like to see in a contract. Usually the union sends
out a survey to all a bargaining unit's members. Once the
contract has been negotiated it's submitted to you and
your co-workers for ratification. If a majority doesn't
approve of the contract, your negotiating team goes back
to the drawing board.
long do contracts last?
Usually 3 to 5 years.
are union dues? What are they used for?
Union dues are the money you pay to the union to help
pay for support staff, legal costs, negotiation costs,
arbitrator's fees, etc.
Teamsters have a structure that includes a national body,
intermediaries, and local unions. Most decisions are made
at the state and local union level.
what does the "International" do?
International's responsibilities include; lobbying Congress
for laws that benefit workers, sending help to locals that
need it and coordinating national organizing efforts.
democratic are unions?
The whole process is open and democratic. You decide
if you want to sign an authorization card. You decide whether
"yes" on joining the union. You decide which co-workers
you want on your negotiating team. You decide what to tell
your negotiators you want in a contract. You vote on the
contract once it's negotiated. You vote on who will be your
shop steward. You vote on who will be the officers of your
more information on the Teamsters, visit http://www.teamster.org.