How to Form a Union

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How do you Begin?


Discreetly talk amongst a few of your co-workers who you think may be interested in organizing.



This small group starts to privately discuss workplace issues, what is involved in organizing a union, and making plans to contact the teamsters. When you’re ready, contact us at 312-738-5260 and a Teamster Organizer will meet with your small group to answer your questions and help you develop a comprehensive organizing plan.

1). Building an Organizing Committee

Leaders are identified and an organizing committee representing all major departments and all shifts and reflecting the racial, ethnic and gender diversity in the workforce is established. The organizing committee training begins immediately. Committee members must be prepared to work hard to educate themselves and their co-workers about the union and to warn and educate co-workers about the impending management anti-union campaign. The organizing committee must be educated about workers’ rights to organize.


In addition, information about the workplace must be gathered including: Workplace structure; departments, work areas, jobs, shifts, employee information; name, address, phone, shift, job title, and department for each worker (employee list), employer information; other locations, parent company, product(s), customers, and union history.

2). Adopt an Issue

The committee develops a program of union demands (the improvements you are organizing to achieve) and a strategy for the union election campaign. A plan for highlighting the issues program in the workplace is carried out through various organizing campaign activities.

3). Sign-Up Majority on Union Cards

Your co-workers are asked to join the teamsters and support the union program by signing authorization cards. The goal is to sign-up a sizable majority. This "Card campaign" Should proceed quickly once begun and is necessary to hold a union election.

4). Win the Election

The signed authorization cards are used (and required) to petition the state or federal labor board to hold an election. It will take the labor board at least several days to determine who is eligible to vote and schedule the election. The union campaign must continue and intensify during the wait. If the union wins, the employer must recognize and bargain with the union. Winning a union election not only requires a strong, diverse organizing committee and a solid issues program, but also a plan to fight the employer’s anti-union campaign.

5). Negotiate a contract

The organizing campaign does not let up after an election victory. The real and most important goal of Signing that Union Contract still needs to be achieved. Workers must be mobilized to support the union’s contract demands (decided by you and your co-workers) and pressure the employer to meet them.

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