Why Organize Your Workplace?
The National Labor Relations Act, passed in 1935, guarantees that “Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection…” Among the reasons Congress articulated for that legislation is that “Experience has proved that protection by law of the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively safeguards commerce from injury, impairment, or interruption, and promotes the flow of commerce by removing certain recognized sources of industrial strife and unrest, by encouraging practices fundamental to the friendly adjustment of industrial disputes arising out of differences as to wages, hours, or other working conditions, and by restoring equality of bargaining power between employers and employees.” Today it remains the policy of the US Congress that our economy is best served by protecting workers’ rights to organize.
Workers have their own reasons for seeking the support and protection of a union. In the midst of a stagnant economy, with employers demanding ever more productivity while skimping on wage increases, it is only through a union that workers can level the playing field in order to get a fair deal. Without a union, contract all employees are “at will”. That means you can be fired at any time; for any reason or no reason. Employers can unilaterally change your wages and/or working conditions at any time. If you object, it is your right to quit. We don’t believe that is the kind of “equality of bargaining power” Congress sought to promote.
Unions are at the forefront of the battle to protect all workers and preserve the social safety net. As corporate money floods our state and national politics, unions remain the most effective voice for working people. Super PACs backed by multinational corporations are purchasing politicians to deliver tax breaks at the expense of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The effectiveness of unions in fighting these initiatives is best exemplified by the efforts of some politicians to destroy them. Unions offer workers the best opportunity to pursue their interests in the political arena.
What can the IATSE do for you?
- Negotiate a contract that is legally binding and spells out your working conditions and rights. Without a contract, your employer can change your wages and working conditions at any time.
- Provide job security by ensuring due process in the event your employer seeks to discipline or fire you.
- Ensure a safe work environment.
- Provide training to upgrade skills and master new technologies.
- Improve your wages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers represented by unions earn higher wages than their non-union counterparts in virtually every category of employment.
- Provide for health insurance and retirement security. BLS studies also confirm that union represented employees are more likely to receive health and retirement benefits from their employer.
Under a union contract, everyone works under the same set of rules. This builds a stronger community of workers. The more united you are, the more effectively you can pursue your common interests.
This is the “Why?” of organizing. On this site, we will also explore the “How?” of organizing.