Looking to get more involved in your community and make an impact on something that matters? A labor union or trade union is an organized group of workers who unite to make decisions about conditions affecting their work. Labor unions strive to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our nation.
Regardless of age, gender, nationality, or geographic location, everyone can afford to get involved in an organization that empowers individuals and promotes equality for all. It wouldn’t be the United States of America without groups such as these.
Aside from the benefits to local and national communities, joining a labor union also brings:
- Higher pay
- More benefits
- A bigger voice in a company
- Fair wages and working hours
- Healthy working conditions
- Benefits such as retirement plans, health insurance, vacation/sick days, etc.
If this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, look no further than this blog for # ways to get involved in a labor union. We’re breaking down everything you need to know.
1. Financial Support
The best way to support a labor union is with monetary donations or investments. As with many other organizations, union costs are paid by member dues that typically cost about $50 a month. Most unions have paid staff to manage their operations. While some staff may be paid by union dues, members also often volunteer.
In addition, you can choose to support businesses that sell products made by unions, such as union made shirts. Finally, you can choose to donate to a union that supports your cause, whether you are a member or not. Every dollar counts and helps keep these organizations afloat.
2. Attend Local Membership Meetings
Once you become a member, you can be a part of the conversation. Local unions have regular membership meetings that all members are welcome to attend. This is where important topics are discussed, such as:
- Upcoming negotiations
- The formation of bargaining committees
- Planning for community events
- And more
Because it is impossible to cover all the ways you can get active at your specific local union, attending one of these meetings can be a great way to dive in and learn more about what is going on and how you can be involved.
3. Show Support on Social Media
More and more people are signing up on social media sites every single day (over 2 billion people use Facebook alone). These days, the best way to become more popular, as an influencer or as a company, is by cracking the code when it comes to getting big on social media.
By showing support for local labor unions on social media, you are spreading their mission for your followers to see and also get involved. It trickles a domino effect of support that ultimately leads to greater followers, involvement, donations, etc. You can also use word-of-mouth to promote the union and have others rally behind the cause.
4. Get Involved in Union Community Service Events
Many local unions have regular food drives, charity events, community days, and more. The UFCW is an active participant in Light the Night and has raised more than $60 million dollars to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
From disaster relief to raising money for other UFCW members when they are going through tough times, the ways UFCW locals participate in their communities are deep and diverse and there’s something for everybody.
Check your local union website or Facebook for past activities, or ask about what’s on the calendar for this year at your next membership meeting.
5. Form Your Own Union
Don’t see any labor unions that represent your company or values? You can get involved by forming your own! If there’s something you feel strongly about in your company that you would like to change, you can have people rally around you. Here’s how:
- Form a bargaining unit: a group represented by a union for dealing with an employer.
- Know that it is illegal for an employer to prevent employees from unionizing through threats, violence or other coercive action.
- An employer is required by law to bargain in good faith with a union, although an employer is not required to agree to any particular terms. Once an agreement is reached through negotiations, a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is signed.
- After a CBA is signed, an employer can’t change the details of the agreement without the union representative’s approval. The CBA lasts for a set period of time with the union monitoring to assure the employer abides by the contract.