What Is the Process of Joining a Union?

Forming an Alberta labour union can seem a bit scary and takes a lot of hard work, but it’s easier than you think. The unionizing process takes patience, persistence, perseverance, and most importantly, the backing of a team and a family. If you’re thinking about organizing your workplace, this is what the process generally looks like.

Choose a strong advocate

The first step in the union process is to choose a strong advocate. This advocate could be yourself, or a co-worker with good communications skills, strong leadership capabilities, and a passion for justice. The advocate must be willing to quietly engage with their co-workers as a leader of the movement for social justice.

Reach out to Teamsters Local Union 987

Once you have chosen your advocate, the next step is to get in touch with Teamsters 987 outside of work. Do not research or discuss organizing or forming a labour union at work until you have contacted Teamsters Local 987. Based on your specific situation and/or industry, a Teamsters 987 business agent will advise you on the next steps. Don’t worry, this important step is 100% confidential.

Create your organizing committee

Once your designated Teamsters 987 business agent gives you the go-ahead, it’s time to start creating a core organizing committee. This committee consists of a small group of trusted coworkers who will oversee the organizing process, along with your Teamsters 987 business agent.

Gather information from coworkers

The organizing committee will discreetly find other coworkers that work in different job roles or departments, ensuring the committee is reaching enough interested employees. It is up to the organizing committee to ensure they are listening to and representing the interests of their coworkers.

Sign and file Teamsters 987 membership cards

Depending on what has been decided by the Teamsters 987 business agent and organizing committee, there will likely be a petition or membership cards that need to be signed by your coworkers. The petition or membership cards are to be circulated outside of work and are strictly confidential, meaning your employer is never allowed to see them.

Once a certain percentage of employees have signed, your Teamsters business agent files the appropriate documentation and an application for certification with the appropriate labour board. Depending on your industry, it’s either sent to the Canadian Industrial Labour Board or the Alberta Labour Relations Board.

Time to vote

In most cases, there will be a secret-ballot vote open to all employees impacted by the decision to form a labour union. The vote is 100% anonymous and confidential, meaning employers will not be able to see how any employee has voted. Depending on the labour board, there are exceptions as to how many signatures are needed to avoid a vote and receive automatic certification.

Negotiate the best deal possible

Once you have received certification, Teamsters 987 gets right to work to set up a collective bargaining agreement. This typically involves a committee of employees, the employer, and your Teamsters 987 business agent sitting down to negotiate the best possible deal for everyone.

Although the process of forming a labour union in Alberta is simple, it’s important to remember that unionizing takes a lot of perseverance and persistence. Teamsters 987 is here every step of the way, and it’s our job to ensure that all that hard work pays off in the end.

Learn more about the benefits of unionizing and what to expect from the process.

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