Q: How do you decide who to organize and who not to organize?
A: The answer is quite simple. If enough people from a particular company contact us through the web, on the phone or just stop by, we measure the level of interest. Are they truly wanting a union? Do they want to go through this entire process of becoming a union facility? Are the conditions right? Is the employer not treating their employees with dignity and respect? Are they willing to help us unionize them? These are some of the types of questions we ask.
Q: How do you know who the people are that work at a particular company?
A: We rely on the people who work there initially to help identify their peers. This is one of the hardest things about organizing a group of people -- just finding out who works there. Once we have a substantial majority identified, at least we have a starting point.
Q: After you have identified who works there, then what?
A: There are numerous approaches but more than likely we like to meet the people one-on-one and just answer any questions they may have about joining our union or the process of becoming a union. This is usually done at their homes, but other arrangements can be made to meet elsewhere.
Q: Why does it seem like everyone is "hush hush" on the idea of joining a union around work? It seems no one wants to talk about a union. Why is that?
A: Some employers try to coerce and intimidate their workers into not forming a union by threatening their job. Even though these are illegal acts under the law, some employers take it to the edge. If you are uncomfortable talking about joining a union out of fear of retaliation by your employer, we are always available to answer any questions you have. Remember, when it comes down to a vote, it is a secret ballot and your employer will not know how you voted. A National Labor Relations Board agent tallies the votes. 50% + 1 of the ballots cast is all that is required to recognize your group as a union.
Q: Why is District 751 doing organizing now? I thought they didn't have an organizing department?
A: We recently received the go ahead from our International to organize. Before this, we could only organize within the walls of the Boeing Company. The only other IAM District in the State of Washington, District 160, had the exclusive jurisdiction from the International to organize all non-Boeing facilities. This policy has changed, and now we, at District 751, can organize anybody and by doing so, we have the jurisdiction to service those contracts we organize and negotiate.
Q: People say you just want our dues money. Is this true?
A: 100% false. In order to understand what a union is takes time. A union is a group of people who band together to speak with one strong voice to improve wages, benefits and working conditions of the people they represent. A union is all of us. Yes, it takes money to get the kind of representation needed to combat the actions of employers, but it is a very small price to pay to have a voice in your future. Would we like to have more members? Sure, because there is strength in numbers.
Q: Do we care whether or not you join?
A: We can't and don't force anybody to join. It is up to the people at a particular company whether or not they want a union. A union is only as strong as the members it represents. We don't want a weak union, we want the people to want to be a union.
Q: What happens if the majority of us don't want a union? Then what?
A: We move on to the next group of people in need or who show an interest in joining a union. Organizing takes a lot of resources to be successful. Organizing monies are the members' dues dollars, and we are fiscally responsible.
Q: If we don't want a union now but may want one in the future, how often would you try to organize a group?
A: This all depends on the circumstances and visible support of employees.
Q: Why do employers put out false and misleading statements about joining a union?
A: Because they know that if their employees stick together, the win percentage is very high. They know that by their employees negotiating for better wages, hours and working conditions it might decrease their profits, as they have to share more with their employees.
Q: Don't unions price companies out of the market?
A: Unions don't price companies out of the market, corporate greed does. When you have CEO's making 50, 100 and in some cases 300 times what employees make, it is the "fat" at the top that would drive a company's cost structure out of balance, not the wages of the "producers".