Start a Union

I’m ready to
start a union

Do you find your salary is not keeping up with the rising cost of living? Are you worried about job security? Are long shifts and unpredictable scheduling a major source of frustration? Do you wish you had health and insurance benefits to protect you and your family?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, you may have a strong case to start a union at your workplace.

Advantages of Forming a Union

Higher Wages/Benefits

On average, full-time union workers make 15-18% higher hourly wages. It jumps to 50-65% for part-time workers. Unions also negotiate for better employee benefits (see chart below).

Reasonable Scheduling & Overtime

Unions can negotiate for fair, predictable scheduling. They can also provide clear expectations about when overtime pay is required and negotiate for paid vacations.

Safe Working Conditions

Your union is a strong advocate for worker safety. This includes protection against verbal abuse, harassment and intimidation.

Worker Rights

Unions can fight for a variety of rights. From equal pay for equal work to a negotiated number of sick days. They can also ensure employees have a defined number of vacation and sick leave days. A union can enshrine these rights (and others) in a collective bargaining agreement.

Job Security

Collective agreements can protect against job loss, arbitrary dismissal, changes in employment and more. They also ensure that negotiated agreements are honoured.

Training and Education

Unions can negotiate to assist employees get training for career advancement and learn new skills needed for the future.

Why Teamsters 987

Teamsters 987 has been defending the rights of Alberta workers since 1942. We represent thousands of workers across a variety of sectors. We have a proven track record of negotiating favourable contracts and improving working conditions for our members. We are more nimble than other, much larger, unions. This allows us to be more responsive to our members’ needs.

Teamsters 987 Industries Served

Brewing & BottlingCannabisCorporate AdministrationFood Processing, Bakery, DairyGroceryLaundryPackage & ParcelPublic ServiceSenior Care WorkersTransportationWarehouse & Manufacturing

If your industry doesn’t appear on this list, that doesn’t mean we can’t help. Contact us to discuss your situation.

Talk with Teamsters
to explore your options!

Starting a Union: 5 Steps

Do your homework

Starting a union is a big decision. It will require a lot of upfront work, planning and persuasion. There are several processes you’ll need to follow. Do your homework. Know what a union can and can’t do to improve your workplace.

Contact a Teamsters Organizer

If your workplace falls into a sector we represent, we’re here to help. We are one of Alberta’s strongest and longest-serving unions. We’ll discuss your issues and explore opportunities.

Create an organizing committee

Next you’ll want to identify key non-management workers throughout your company who share your frustrations to form your organizing committee. Find committed, hard-working people you can rely on.

Sign an Organizing Petition

You’ll need to get coworkers to sign an Organizing Petition. It’s a confidential document that shows you have enough interest to hold an official vote to start a union. Your Teamsters Organizer will help.

Hold a voteto start a union

All non-management employees at your workplace will vote in favour or against starting a union. Voting is by secret ballot. You only require 50% plus one vote to succeed!

I’m ready.
I want to learn more!

The Numbers Add Up in Your Favour

15-18% Higher Full-Time Hourly Wages
50-60% Higher Part-Time Hourly Wages

You Have the Legal Right to Start a Union.

Under the law in Alberta, you have the legal right to start a labour union in your workplace. Most employers will resist bringing a union into their company, so it’s important to know your rights. If your employer violates any of the following rights at any point in the process of forming a union, contact your Teamsters Union 987 organizer – outside of work hours – immediately.

You are entitled to:
  • Discuss forming a union with co-workers while not working – on break, at lunch, before and after your shift. This includes:
    • Holding meetings
    • Distributing flyers and other informational tools.
  • Hand out and sign petitions or membership cards outside of working hours.
  • Lodge a formal complaint against your employer with the help of Teamsters Union 987 if they have legitimately acted against the Alberta Labour Relations Code.
  • Vote in favour of forming a union without any interference from your employer.
  • Be free from any form of influence from your employer regarding joining a union. Illegal actions by the employer include:
    • Asking your opinion of the union
    • Making any threats to supporters of the union
    • Giving or offering preferential treatment (raises, better hours, etc.) to employees who oppose the union
    • Preventing employees from organizing outside of work time
    • Distributing any anti-union materials in an attempt to persuade employees’ decisions to unionize.

Teamsters Union 987 is always available to answer any questions about your rights. Contact us at any time. We are here to help.

Employer Information Vs. Employee Intimidation

It’s against the law for employers to intimidate or threaten employees against forming a union. Employers are permitted to inform employees why the company believes a union isn’t necessary.

However, there is a fine line between persuading and coercing. Often, employers will post notices or hold anti-union meetings under the guise of “knowing the facts.”In many cases, they will use this opportunity to drop strong hints that there will be consequences for any employees who support unionization. If this happens, speak to your union organizer.

How Do I Start a Union? FAQs

Is Teamsters 987 the right union for me?

If your workplace is in Alberta, Teamsters 987 can help you take the required steps to start a union. Teamsters 987 has been defending the rights of Alberta workers for over 80 years. We’d love to learn more about your workplace and the challenges you face, and make sure we’re the right fit.

Do all workers have to vote in favour of starting a union?

No. When it is time to hold a ‘Certification Vote’ all you require is 50% +1 additional vote of the eligible (non-management) employees to vote YES. Once that happens, you are in a legal position to unionize. Your Teamsters 987 Organizer can explain all of the steps involved.

Can management prevent us from meeting to hold a vote?

No. Alberta law protects the right to organize. Employers are forbidden from interfering with the voting process or intimidating workers.


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