IRONWORKERS LOCAL 399 organizing



CELL: (609) 610-2852  OFFICE: (856) 456-9323  FAX: (856) 456-8702   E-MAIL:    

What is Organizing?

Organizing takes place when union “organizers”educate unrepresented workers to encourage them to join a union.  The education phase can touch on workplacerights, wages, benefits and various other benefits of being a union member.  A union organizer may visit unrepresentedworkers at their home or any other location outside the workplace to talk aboutthe problems they face at work.  The goalof a union organizer is to obtain a union contract between the employer andemployee which ultimately provides for better working conditions.  

Why join a Union?

There may be no better reason to join a unionother than the fact that union members’ wages are 28% higher than non-unionworkers’ wages.  It is not uncommon fornon-union workers to earn $8 an hour, have no health insurance, and nopension.  Public assistance programsfunded by taxpayers make up for what employers should be paying, but areinstead pocketing.  Of course,corporation and private businesses have the fundamental right to make a profit…Itis part of the American Dream.  But someCEOs can earn 500 times the wages paid to their workers, and this greed iscontributing to the demise of the middle class.In 1935, the United States Government enactedthe National Labor Relations Act which grants employees in the private sectorthe right to form labor organizations and bargain collectively without theinterference of employers.  There is nodenying that there is power in numbers, and such strength gives an edge toemployees when it comes to setting the terms and conditions of theiremployment.Many non-union workers take for granted therights and protections afforded to them by virtue of labor’s struggles in thepast.  The 8-hour work day and 5-day workweek are key examples.  Additionally, inthe ten states in which unions are the strongest, there is less poverty, highhousehold income, more education spending, and better public policy than in theten states in which unions are the weakest.  

Organize Your Workplace!

 As a worker, you have a right under federal lawto form a union, select representatives of your choice and bargain collectivelywith your employer.  This helps balancethe power that an employer has over his individual employees.  Belonging to a union gives you rights underlaw that you do not have as an individual. Once you have formed a union, your employer must bargain with you overyour wages, hours and working conditions.    

Unions Encourage Democracy!

 Unions encourage voting and other forms ofpolitical participation by members and other social groups with commoninterests.  Political Scientist BenjaminRadcliff has estimated that for every 1 percent decline in union membershipthere is a 0.4 percent decline in voter participation.  

What Steps Do Employers Take to Prevent Unions? 

 Some employers would rather not have to dealwith a strong union when they can deal with a weak employee.  To maintain control, the employer may holdcaptive audience meetings, threaten to close or move the workplace if workersvote to unionize, hire professional union busters to coordinate anti-unioncampaigns or even fire workers for engaging in union activity.  Of course, there are certain actionsemployers cannot take. 


  1.  Attendany union meeting, park across the street from the hall or engage in anyundercover activity which would indicate that the employees are being keptunder surveillance to determine who is and who is not participating in theunion program. 

  2.  Tellemployees that the company will fire or punish them if they engage in unionactivity. 

  3.  Layoff, discharge, discipline any employee for union activity. 

 4.  Grantemployees wage increases, special concessions or benefits in order to keep theunion out. 

 5.  Baremployee-union representatives from soliciting employees’ memberships on or offthe company property during non-waking hours. 

 6.  Askemployees about union matters, meetings, etc. (Some employees may, of their ownaccord, walk up and tell of such matters. It is not an unfair labor practice to listen, but to ask questions toobtain additional information is illegal). 

 7.  Askemployees what they think about the union or a union representative once theemployee refuses to discuss it. 

 8.  Askemployees how they intend to vote. 

 9.  Threatenemployees with reprisal for participating in union activities.  For example, threaten to move the plant orclose the business, curtail operations or reduce employees’ benefits. 

 10.  Promisebenefits to employees if they reject the union. 

 11.  Givefinancial support or other assistance to a union. 

 12.  Announcethat the company will not deal with the union. 

 13.  Threatento close, in fact close, or move plant in order to avoid dealing with a union. 

 14.  Askemployees whether or not they belong to a union, or have signed up for unionrepresentation. 

 15.  Askan employee, during the hiring interview, about his affiliation with a labororganization or how he feels about unions. 

 16.  Makeanti-union statements or act in a way that might show preference for anon-union man. 

 17.  Makedistinctions between union and non-union employees when signing overtime workor desirable work. 

 18.  Purposelyteam up non-union men and keep them apart from those supporting the union. 

 19.  Transferworkers on the basis of union affiliations or activities. 

 20.  Chooseemployees to be laid off in order to weaken the union’s strength or discouragemembership in the union. 

 21.  Discriminateagainst union people when disciplining employees. 

 22.  Bynature of work assignments, create conditions intended to get rid of anemployee because of his union activity. 

 23.  Failto grant a scheduled benefit or wage increase because of union activity.  

 24.  Deviatefrom company policy for the purpose of getting rid of a union supporter. 

 25.  Takeaction that adversely affects an employee’s job or pay rate because of unionactivity. 

 26.  Threatenworkers or coerce them in an attempt to influence their vote. 

 27.  Threatena union member through a third party. 

 28.  Promiseemployees a reward or future benefit if they decide “no union”. 

 29.  Tellemployees overtime work (and premium pay) will be discontinued if the plant isunionized. 

 30.  Sayunionization will force the company to lay off employees. 

 31.  Sayunionization will do away with vacations or other benefits and privilegespresently in effect. 

 32.  Promiseemployees promotions, raises or other benefits if they get out of the union orrefrain from joining the union. 

 33.  Starta petition or circular against the union or encourage or take part in its circulationif started by employees. 

 34.  Urgeemployees to try to induce others to oppose the union or keep out of it. 

 35.  Visitthe homes of employees to urge them to reject the union.