Before we explain how to join or form a security guard / security officer or Law Enforcement Security Union like the United Federation LEOS-PBA you must first ask yourself what is a union?
A union is an organized group of workers who collectively use their strength to have a voice in their workplace. Through a union, workers have a right to impact wages, work hours, benefits, workplace health and safety, job training and other work-related issues.
What is an Association?
A group of people, workers, security guards, security officers, security police ect, organized for a joint purpose.
A union unlike an association normally seeks collective bargaining rights at a specific work location and/or company vs. an association which organizes for a joint purpose and is made up of many individual security guards within the security industry working for many different companies and/or possessing a security guard license if such states require one.
Steps to Create a Union Where You Work
As noted above a union is simply an employee organization—protected by law—where a group of workers joins together to improve and guarantee their wages, benefits and working conditions. A union also gives employees a way to achieve respect and fairness on the job and a stronger voice to impact employer decisions. Without a union, employers have 100% control.
By joining together you will have far more power to make positive changes and gain protections in your workplace than you would alone or with a just a few co-workers. Although work settings and issues vary, you can count on these 5 Basic Steps to create a union where you work. Are you ready to get started?
STEP 1: Know Your Legal Rights
Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA") in 1935 to protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to curtail certain private sector labor and management practices, which can harm the general welfare of workers, businesses and the U.S. economy.
Under the National Labor Relations Act Employees are granted certain rights.
RIGHTS OF EMPLOYEES
Sec. 7. [§ 157.] 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, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all of such activities except to the extent that such right may be affected by an agreement requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment as authorized in section 8(a)(3) [section 158(a)(3) of this title].
As part of your Section 7 Rights You have a legal right to:
Join a union.
Attend meetings during non-work time to discuss joining a union.
Talk about the union whenever other non-work talk is allowed.
Sign a card or petition to show support for a union.
Talk to a union organizer.
Declare yourself a union supporter.
Assist in forming a union.
Ask other employees to support the union, to sign cards or petitions requesting your employer to recognize and bargain with your union.
Read and distribute union literature as long as you do this in non-work areas during non-work times such as breaks, lunch hours or before or after work
Employers are forbidden by law to engage in certain conduct. Your employer may NOT legally:
Threaten you with discharge or punishment if you engage in union activity.
Threaten to shut down business if workers form a union.
Prevent you from soliciting members during non-working hours.
Question you about union matters, union meetings, or union supporters.
Ask how you or other workers intend to vote in an election.
Ask whether you belong to a union or have signed up to join a union.
Transfer or assign you to a less desirable work assignment because of your union activity.
Threaten to terminate your benefits because you unionize.
Threaten a layoff or loss of jobs in retaliation for voting for a union.
STEP 2: Gather Information
Next you’ll want to gather information about where you work. What are the issues facing your co-workers? Any common themes? For example, is there a need for pay equity or to end unfair treatment? Do other co-workers share your interest in exploring the idea of a union?
Who in your workplace will be willing to lead the charge? Are there particular security officers that your co-officers listen to or follow?
Who amongst your co-officers can you trust and who do you think would run back to management?
These are just some of the questions you’ll need to answer. A United Federation LEOS-PBA organizer can help provide the resources you’ll need to lay a good foundation to build a strong union and we will be there for you every step of the way.
STEP 3: Build Your Own Union
Efforts to form a security union vary depending on the workplace but the United Federation LEOS-PBA believes the most successful way to create a union workplace is for security officers to take charge of the process themselves. The United Federation LEOS-PBA organizing team will help you create a plan that makes sense for you and your co-officers.
You’ll want to create a representative group of co-workers, usually called an “Organizing Committee” to make sure your efforts to form a security union succeed. The Organizing Committee educates fellow security officers about the benefits of unionizing and your rights under the law, motivates co-officers to take action with confidence, and helps plan a winning strategy.
Tips on Encouraging Co-workers to Action
Find out what issues are important to your co-officers. You know what’s important to you, but find out what’s important to them. Is there a recurring theme? Ask questions and don’t assume you know the answers.
Give Co-Officers a Reason to Be Involved:
Co-Officers will get involved if they believe their issues are at stake and they can really make a difference. Nobody comes to a meeting? Start smaller with 1:1 conversations or small group meetings. Try incorporating food or social activity and make it fun. Start with a smaller challenge to achieve a unity building victory.
If you don’t know an answer to a question, admit it—but find out the answer and get back to the person quickly. This can be easily done by contacting the LEOSU organizing department You’ll be respected for your involvement to member concerns.
Push Your Co-workers Harder:
It’s easy to take on tasks yourself, harder to organize others to take action. A good workplace activist gets as many people involved as possible doing as much as possible. But you need to ask. It’s not enough to bug people to be more active. You need to ask them to do specific assignments…until it becomes natural to take on more without being asked. Don’t push so hard though that your co-workers avoid you! Know when to stop and try another tactic.
Stay Positive and Provide Hope:
Making people feel good about getting involved encourages them to stay involved and encourages other people to join them. Complaining about co-officers who “won’t do anything” doesn’t help. Management will attempt to make unionizing seem futile. You need to provide the hope that conditions can change.
By letting co-workers know early on the issues a union will fight for, you’re in a better position to take credit for improvements management will try to make during the campaign. “If we got a better health plan by just talking about the union, imagine what we can do with a contract in place.”
Defend Each Other:
If a co-worker is treated unfairly, try to unite everyone to defend the person, even if he or she isn’t a union supporter. Maybe it’s time to start a petition or take some other kind of group action to show your employer you’re united. But don’t just complain—organize to act in a unified way.
STEP 4: Make Your Union “Official”
Once you’re able to show strong majority support for creating a union, usually through the signing of “authorization” cards or a petition, the next step is to make your union official. There are different ways to do this depending on your type of workplace. One common way is to request the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which is a neutral government agency, to hold a secret ballot election. Depending on the state, public employees may have their own state agency conduct an election. Another way to gain official union recognition is to have your employer voluntarily recognize your union. The United Federation LEOS-PBA organizing staff can help you decide which method might be best for your situation. At this point, you may be asking, “What will my employer say to workers forming a union?” The typical employer will say you don’t need a union because he/she will not want to give up any control or power. You and your co-workers need to be prepared for what to expect when your employer learns about your steps to form a union.
Click here for information on your Rights to Join a Security Union.
Click here to get more information on Union Busting Tactics and what to Expect from your employer once you decide to join or form a security union.
STEP 5: Win a Strong United Federation LEOS-PBA Union Contract
Efforts to create a union don’t stop after you win recognition. The next step—winning a fair contract— is just as important. Once your security union is officially certified, your employer will be legally required to negotiate in good faith with your union to obtain a written, legally binding contract covering all aspects of your employment. You and your co-workers will elect a negotiating team and decide what changes and improvements you want to propose to your employer. Acceptance of the final agreement will be voted on by you. You can count on the United Federation LEOS-PBA Directors to provide support every step of the way.
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