Organize at Your Shop

Why You Need a Union

Union members earn better wages and benefits than workers who aren’t union members. On average, union workers’ wages are 30 percent higher than their nonunion counterparts. While only 14 percent of nonunion workers have guaranteed pensions, fully 68 percent of union workers do. More than 97 percent of union workers have jobs that provide health insurance benefits, but only 85 percent of nonunion workers do. Unions help employers create a more stable, productive workforce—where workers have a say in improving their jobs.

How to Form a Union

STEP 1: Know Your Rights

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States to…encourag[e] the practice and procedure of collective bargaining and [to] protect…the 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 their views on unions, to talk with their 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 association.*

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 union that will help you organize.

*Supervisors and a few other kinds of employees customarily are excluded from coverage. For more information, see specific laws covering your position or contact a union organizer as described below.

STEP 2: Get in Touch with a Union Organizer

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. To get in touch with a union organizer, call the SMWIA Local 20 at (812) 424-2283 or email us.