What is a Union?

A union is a democratic organization of people working together to change or preserve aspects of their workplace through collective action and collective bargaining.

What difference would a union make?

Being in a union means that you can collectively meet and negotiate a contract with management over any issues that affects you and your job, including wages, benefits, and working conditions. A union contract is a legally-binding and enforceable document where these agreements are put in writing. When you form your union, you will have a stronger voice in working with management to make your employer stronger, more prosperous, and better place to work.

Who runs the union?

You do. The union is a democracy at every level. You elect your negotiating committee and leadership for the local, district, and international union.

Aren’t there already laws that protect us?

Laws governing employment, safety, discrimination and overtime all exist because millions of union members fought for them. A union grievance process ensures that everyone is treated fairly and equally, without favoritism and discrimination. A union contract, with the aid of union resources and staff, ensures that these laws and rules are enforced.

What sorts of benefits and protections can we achieve through collective bargaining?

Winning a contract through collective bargaining means having a legally enforceable document that guarantees your conditions of employment. Those benefits cannot be changed unilaterally by the employer without negotiating with your union.

Here are some examples of the kinds of things Steelworkers have won: