Labor unions exist to represent the workers within a particular industry and protect their interests and rights. A union can bargain on behalf of employees for contract and salary negotiations, among other things. In the United States, unions are certified and monitored by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). If you want to start a union at your place of employment, follow these steps:
- Skill level:
Decide if you want to form a new union or join a union that already exists.
Find the National Labor Relations Board office that has jurisdiction over your area. You can find a list of regional offices on the NLRB's website.
Get written evidence that your coworkers support forming a labor union by having them sign authorization cards. If you're forming a new union, a majority of workers have to sign the cards. If you're joining an existing union, at least 30 percent of workers have to sign.
File a petition with your regional NLRB office. Be sure to include the authorization cards your coworkers have signed.
Prepare to vote. The NLRB will sponsor an election for you and your coworkers to vote on whether or not to form a union. A majority of workers must be in favor of forming a labor union in order to move forward.
Receive union certification from the NLRB if the election results are in favor of a union. Once you receive certification, the union can negotiate on behalf of employees.
Tips and warnings
- The National Labor Relations Board does not provide services to workers in all professions. Before you begin, you should contact your regional NLRB office and verify that workers in your industry can form a union.