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Unions And Union Agreements

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Once the NLRB bargaining unit is established, the union must win a representation election among the unit`s employees. After decades of organization and struggle, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) has secured a national collective agreement with AT-T, which allowed the union to negotiate for 500,000 employees in the telecommunications sector. But the subsequent deregulation and the splitting of “Ma Bell” into eight regional companies (“Baby Bells”) in the 1980s destroyed the national single employer agreement, and non-union enterprises quickly took advantage of deregulation to launch operations and undermine standards. Today, CWA has to negotiate with AT-T for 11 individual and geographic bargaining units: six for traditional wire network service workers, 4 for mobile wireless service workers and one that focuses on DSL customer service. CWA also negotiates separately with the other regional bell companies that have become Verizon and CenturyLink. Today, the union represents about 100,000 AT-T employees across the country and another 50,000 on the remains of regional bells. All telecommunications companies compete with non-union cables for the same broadband market, further undermining bargaining power.22 The NRA allows employers and unions to enter into security agreements that require all employees of a bargaining unit to become unionized and to start paying union dues and fees within 30 days of hiring. The NLRA protects both your right to be a member of the union and your right to choose not to be a union member. If you feel that you have been threatened with not joining a union, you must first submit a tax to your local NLRB office. This is generally referred to as the unfair labour practice tax. Then the NRL staff will conduct an investigation to see if your request is justified – if the investigation concludes that something went wrong, then the NLRB will try to find some kind of agreement to resolve or correct the problem.

If the NRL decides that your right has no value, you can appeal that decision, but you may need the help of a lawyer. For example, unions look at discipline practices and ensure that appropriate procedures are put in place to ensure that workers are treated fairly. Most union members cannot be dismissed or disciplined unless the employer has “one reason,” as defined in the collective agreement, unlike most non-union workers in the private sector who are employed “at will,” meaning that the employer can dismiss you at any time and for almost any reason or change your terms of employment. For more information, visit the employment page of our website. Collective bargaining is the process in which workers negotiate contracts with their employers through their unions to determine their terms of employment, including wages, benefits, hours, leave, occupational health and safety policies, work and family life balance opportunities and much more. Collective bargaining is a way to solve problems in the workplace. It is also the best way to raise wages in America. Unions have higher wages, better benefits and safer jobs through collective bargaining. Association for Union Democracy (AUD)104 Montgomery StreetBrooklyn, NY 11225Phone: 718-564-1114[email protected]www.uniondemocracy.orgAUD is a worker-friendly non-profit organization committed to promoting the principles and practices of democratic unionism in the North American labour movement and provides legal support to union members who are fighting for greater control of their unions.