Many employers choose to ignore the contributions of their workforce, treating people without respect and offering too little in return for their labor, skills, and dedication. When you form a union, you will want your employer to be successful and profitable so that you can share in the company's prosperity. You can also seek a relationship of mutual respect and cooperation, knowing that you have the protection of a legal contract to back you up.
Management may hire consultants and attorneys who specialize in busting unions or preventing them from forming. These consultants will devise a plan that includes many of the tactics described in this brochure. You may hear management say they are losing business or losing money because of your organizing efforts - even while they are paying union-busters thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of dollars.
Union-busting consultants will try every trick in the book to steer you away from forming a union. Your organizer is familiar with how these consultants operate and can help you stay on track to secure a union that will fight for your interests.
Management may require that you attend meetings at your worksite to talk to you about your desire to form a union. Because you are already on the job and management is in control, these gatherings are called "captive audience" meetings. These meetings give management the opportunity to present misleading information about unions while attempting to place management in the best possible light. Management may give false promises about their future behavior towards workers or even threaten some dire action if workers continue their organizing efforts.
While captive audience meetings give management an unfair advantage, you are free to assemble outside of work to support organizing efforts.
Management often claims they didn't know workers were dissatisfied with working conditions, unfair treatment, repressive policies, lack of pay raises, or lousy benefits. They may promise to do better, to change their behavior, or even reassign difficult supervisors.
If management truly didn't know about worker dissatisfaction, then they are out of touch with the workforce. On the other hand, if they were aware that workers were upset but did nothing to address the situation, it shows they were indifferent to their own employees.
Management often uses the argument that the union is a third party that comes between the company and their employees. Management may also argue that unions are only after dues money.
The truth is that a union is not some far-away entity; the workers themselves are the union. It is you and your fellow workers who elect your local officers, vote on local bylaws, choose the bargaining committee to negotiate with the employer, and run day-to-day operations. The International union provides the guidance, the experienced representatives, and the resources to support the local lodge. Dues money is what pays for these services and the operation of the local lodge.
Management may hope to scare you away from organizing with a direct or indirect threat. They may threaten to lay off employees, close the business, or move operations out of the area.
Shutting down operations because employees unionize — or even threatening to do so — is against the law. Companies may close for a variety of reasons, including poor management, shifting market needs, or a weak economy. An organized workforce is not a valid reason.
Management hopes it can stall the election process or, if you win the union election, prolong negotiations for your first contract. Their aim is to cause frustration and impatience so that you finally give up.
The National Labor Relations Act requires both parties, the union and the company, to bargain "in good faith". That means each side must have the intent to reach a contract and not merely go through the motions or endure constant delays to undermine the bargaining process.
Management may tell you that the Boilermakers will "take you out on strike" even if you don't want to. They may tell you that while you are out during a strike you could be permanently replaced. They may ask you how you will support yourself and your family if you are forced to strike.
Management will do their best to smear the union in any way it can, while ignoring its own problems or the general problems that can occur with businesses as a whole, including white-collar crimes and unethical behavior.
The Boilermakers have helped build railroads in the U.S. and Canada, construct ships to defend our two nations in two world wars, erect North America's energy and manufacturing infrastructure to create national prosperity and a strong middle class, and produce everyday consumer goods to make life easier. We are known for our generosity to worthy causes and community involvement.