Organizing a union in your workplace is about getting more rights and more power. Thousands of working people—all across the country and in all kinds of jobs—organize unions every year because unions are the best way to secure the things you care about.
4 Steps to Form a Union
When you and your co-workers come together to form a union, you get the right to negotiate with your employer over wages, benefits and working conditions.
No matter what the industry you are in, or the labor law that covers it, the process for forming a union is similar.
- Get together with your co-workers who may share a common interest in organizing a union.
- Talk to a union organizer in order to strategize and to learn the next steps.
- Talk to your co-workers to build support for the union.
- Show that support through an election or a card-check once you have a strong majority.
Once your union is official, you’ll choose your leaders and negotiate a contract. The process is democratic, and the more inclusive you can be, the stronger your union will be.
Learn more about your rights to engage in union activity.
Union Facts: The Value of Collective Voice
BETTER PAY AND BENEFITS
- Union members earn better wages and benefits than workers who aren’t union members. On average, union workers’ wages are 11.2% higher than their nonunion counterparts.
- Ninety-six percent of union workers have employer-provided health insurance, but only 69% of nonunion workers do.
- Unions help bring more working people into the middle class. In fact, in states where people don’t have union rights, workers’ incomes are lower.
- Working people in a union are more likely to participate in an employer-provided guaranteed pension plan than working people without a union (54% compared to 8%).
The Union Difference
Workers in a union have:
- higher wages (11.2% more than what nonunion workers make)
- employer-provided health insurance (96% compared to 69%)
- access to paid sick days (93% compared to 75%);
- retirement benefits through private employers (82% to 48%); and
- guaranteed pensions through private employers (54% to 8%).
UNIONS IMPROVE PAY AND WORKING CONDITIONS FOR ALL WORKERS—ESPECIALLY WORKERS OF COLOR
The union advantage is even greater for people of color, women, immigrants, and others who have confronted workplace discrimination. A union contract is a potent weapon against unequal pay and structural racism because it establishes fair and transparent systems for hiring and firing, wages and more.
Black, Latino and women workers are paid 26%, 39.2% and 23.8% more, respectively, when they belong to a union. Union contracts pay women and men the same for doing the same job. You cannot be fired for your sexual orientation or gender identity under a union contract.