About 120 members of United Steelworkers Local 8565 employed at Rotek Inc. went on strike Friday, January 18, according to a company spokesperson.
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#1994 Mar 31, 2013
Who runs the union?
The union leadership is elected in a strict democratic process. The officers are nominated and elected from among each individual local’s membership. Elections are held for officers in most local unions every three years.
It is important to note that as described above, every local union officer is a member. Every officer has worked under a collective bargaining agreement like every other member. All local union elected officials were selected to run the day to day business of the union because of their skills, commitment and ability to serve the membership.
#1995 Mar 31, 2013
Cost, obviously, is relative. It’s relative to the services provided, to what you get for your money. How often have you made the statement,“I don’t mind paying the cost as long as I get my money’s worth?”
Cost is a valid concern, because we all work hard for our money and we want to be sure it is spent wisely and for some particular benefit to us.
That is why you should look at the cost of belonging to a union — your initiation fee (if applicable) and your monthly dues — as an investment. A very wise and very sound investment when you consider what you get for your money.
With USW you get a direct return on your investment because your dues go directly into providing services to you and your family.
Whether it’s bargaining a contract, handling a grievance or arbitration, negotiating a pension plan, providing advanced training, offering discount programs in such areas as credit cards and legal consultations, your dues money is being invested in your well-being today, for your progress and stability tomorrow.
And every cent of your money is strictly accounted for. Federal regulations require all unions to file an annual financial report with the Department of Labor. So you always know how your money is being spent. It’s a matter of public record.
Your dues are an investment — one that pays off handsomely.
#1996 Mar 31, 2013
CAN I BE FORCED TO GO ON STRIKE?
Can you be forced to go on strike? NO … NO … NO … A THOUSAND TIMES, NO!
Despite the propaganda you might get from anti-union forces, the fact is that strikes are the last resort in a union’s dealing with management. Only when management refuses to deal with the workers, or is so unfair in its dealings that the conditions it proposes are impossible to live with, only then do unions go on strike.
So NO, you can never be forced to go on strike. You determine, along with your fellow members, whether or not your union goes on strike.
Again contrary to popular propaganda, strikes by unions are fairly rare. What happens is that in those few instances that a strike does occur, it occupies the front page and lead story in the various media and the public is left with the impression that this is an everyday occurrence.
The fact is that in over 99 percent of contract dealings between USW and management, an agreement is reached at the bargaining table or through mediation or arbitration. All very peaceful, all without an interruption of work. And we’re talking about thousands of contracts being negotiated each year in the United States and Canada.
Strikes don’t happen often. And they only happen when the membership so votes.
To strike or not to strike is the members’ decision.
#1997 Mar 31, 2013
Myths and Facts About Unions
Myth: Unions are outside, special-interest groups.
Fact: Workers are the union. A union is simply a democratic organization of working people standing up for their rights on the job and in society. Unions also bring people together in the community to stand up for issues that matter to all working people.
Myth: Unions mean more conflict in the workplace.
Fact: Unions can make the workplace a more harmonious place to work. A union contract allows the company and workers to sit down as equals and discuss problems as they come up. Without a union, workers’ lives are often in more turmoil because they have to deal with more favoritism and less economic security.
Myth: Companies close due to unions.
Fact: Companies close for economic reasons—and the vast majority of companies that close are nonunion. Some companies, however, like to keep this myth alive by illegally threatening workers who attempt to form a union by saying the company will close. Studies have shown that, in fact, unions help decrease employee turnover and can increase efficiency.
Myth: Unions just want workers’ dues.
Fact: Money that workers pay in dues goes back into running the organization—unions are not for-profit organizations. The improvements workers win in pay, benefits and fair treatment through their unions are far greater than the cost of dues. Dues levels are set by each local union through a democratic process.
Myth: Most union bosses are corrupt.
Fact: It’s a tragic situation when a trusted leader betrays the membership in any kind of organization. However, for every high-profile story that is in the media about a corrupt union leader, there are thousands of regular, honest leaders who are never profiled.
Myth: Unions are quickly shrinking.
Fact: Actually, the number of union members has stayed steady for the past 50 years, but the workforce itself has grown. Sixteen million working men and women in the United States are union members.
Myth: Unions used to be effective, but they’re not anymore.
Fact: Unions are still by far the best way for working people to win economic security and have a voice on the job. The numbers tell the story: Union members make at least 25 percent more in wages than workers who don’t have a union. Union members are much more likely to have a defined-benefit pension plan and health care than workers without unions. Unions also curb discrimination on the job, keep the workplace safe and give workers a much-needed voice.
Myth: Unions are political organizations that elect Democrats.
Fact: Unions do a lot more than politics. Most of unions’ work involves fighting for good contracts, helping workers improve their lives and standing up for all working families. Through their unions, workers support candidates who support working families’ issues and who work for good laws. USW's political work is not about electing Democrats or Republicans—it’s about electing people who stand up for working people.
Myth: Unions force workers out on strike often.
Fact: Workers in USW and most other unions vote whether or not to strike. Ninety-nine percent of IUOE contract negotiations are settled without a strike. No one ever wants a strike.
#1998 Mar 31, 2013
Your Rights/Forming a Union
Your Rights in the United States
You have a legal right to:
Join a union.
Attend a union meeting on your own time.
Talk to a union organizer.
Declare yourself a union supporter.
Assist in forming a union.
Employers are forbidden by law to engage in certain conduct. Your employer may NOT legally:
Threaten you with discharge or punishment if you engage in union activity.
Threaten to shut down business if workers form a union.
Prevent you from soliciting members during non-working hours.
Question you about union matters, union meetings, or union supporters.
Ask you how you or other workers intend to vote in an election.
Ask you whether you belong to a union or have signed up to join a union.
Transfer you to or assign you to a less desirable work assignment because of your union activity.
Threaten to terminate your benefits because you unionize.
Threaten a layoff or loss of jobs in retaliation for voting for a union.
#1999 Mar 31, 2013
HOW CAN MY WORKPLACE BECOME A UNION WORKPLACE?
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) provides a process to allow your workplace to become a Union Workplace. This process culminates in an election that is legally binding upon your employer. Those eligible to vote in this election are known by the NLRB as Bargaining Unit Employees. They are your co-workers. It is important to know that "Supervisors and Management" are not allowed in the bargaining unit and therefore do not vote!
1. One way to organize a company comes through the NLRB by what is known as a "Representative Election". However, before the NLRB will schedule an election there must be a suitable showing of interest by your coworkers in forming a union. A minimum of 30% of the effected bargaining unit employees have to show interest in forming a union at your facility. This is most commonly achieved by the signing of Authorization Cards or simply "A Cards". By virtue of your signature, the "A Card” signifies that you desire for the appropriate local union of the USW to represent you for the purpose of collective bargaining.
2. Along with the sufficient "Showing of Interest" an Election Petition must be filed with the NLRB. The NLRB will contact the employer and require them to provide a list of their employees. The NLRB will compare the names on the "A Cards” to the list provided by the employer to determine if there is sufficient interest, 30% or more, to warrant an election.
3. Once it is determined that the bargaining unit is appropriate and that no supervisors or management are included, a date will be set by the NLRB for the election, usually 5 to 7 weeks out.
4. On the day of the election the NLRB will set up a polling area, usually on the employer’s property, and supervise the election. Employees vote by casting a paper ballot which they drop into a ballot box. At the end of the voting period the polls are closed and the ballots are counted right on the spot. The union must win the majority of the votes to be declared the winner.
The above steps are the basics of the election process. USW can help you start on the road to a more rewarding work place and a better life for you and your family.
#2000 Mar 31, 2013
Once the required number of employees has signed authorization cards, the local will apply to the Provincial or Federal Labour Board for certification. The board will notify your employer and set a date for a hearing. An official notice will be posted in your workplace informing all employees of the application.
Your shop or employer may be certified by one of two methods: In most provinces, the Labour Board will examine the membership applications and determine whether a majority desire union representation (the percentage varies from province to province). If so, it will then certify the local as your union representative. In other provinces, the Labour Board, after examination of the membership applications, will conduct an election among the employees. Once a majority (50 percent plus 1) have voted for union representation, the Labour Board will certify the local as your union representative. In some cases, the Labour Board may convene a hearing.
In either case, once the local is certified, your employer is required by law to negotiate in good faith to the conclusion of a collective bargaining agreement.
#2001 Mar 31, 2013
How Labor Unions Work
Labor unions have a long and colorful history in the United States. To some people, they conjure up thoughts of organized crime and gangsters like Jimmy Hoffa. To others, labor unions represent solidarity among the working classes, bringing people together across many professions to lobby for better rights, wages and benefits. As of 2006, 15.4 million people were union members, and although union membership peaked in 1945 when 35 percent of the nonagricultural workforce were union members, unions are still a powerful influence in the United States (and even more powerful in many other countries). They are also an important and fundamental part of the history of United States commerce and the country’s growth into an economic powerhouse.
So what do unions do and why are they still important? In this article, we’ll look at the history of labor unions and how they help many workers today.
Important Events in U.S. Labor History
In the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution produced a rapid expansion in factories and manufacturing capabilities. As workers moved away from agricultural work to factories, mines and other hard labor, many faced terrible working conditions: long hours, low pay and health risks. Many children worked in factories, and women and children generally received lower pay than men. The government did little to limit these injustices, and in the United States, along with much of the industrialized world, labor movements developed that lobbied for better rights and safer conditions.
A common method of protest used by workers in the 19th century was the strike. A strike is when a group of workers stops working in protest to labor conditions or as a bargaining tool during negotiations between labor and management. While strikes today are generally peaceful events, back then they were quite the opposite. A list of the 19th century’s notable strikes shows numerous strikes that were “broken” by hired militias, police or U.S. government troops, frequently resulting in the deaths of workers. Employers often hired private companies like the infamous Pinkerton Detective Agency to intimidate striking workers or to escort strike breakers -- workers replacing striking employees -- across picket lines.
#2002 Mar 31, 2013
Your Rights/Forming a Union
Your Rights in the United States
You have a legal right to:
*Join a union.
*Attend a union meeting on your own time.
*Talk to a union organizer.
*Declare yourself a union supporter.
*Assist in forming a union.
Employers are forbidden by law to engage in certain conduct. Your employer may NOT legally:
*Threaten you with discharge or punishment if you engage in union activity.
*Threaten to shut down business if workers form a union.
*Prevent you from soliciting members during non-working hours.
*Question you about union matters, union meetings, or union supporters.
*Ask you how you or other workers intend to vote in an election.
*Ask you whether you belong to a union or have signed up to join a union.
*Transfer you to or assign you to a less desirable work assignment because of your union activity.
*Threaten to terminate your benefits because you unionize.
*Threaten a layoff or loss of jobs in retaliation for voting for a union.
#2003 Mar 31, 2013
Labor Union Basics
A labor union is an organization of workers dedicated to protecting their interests and improving wages, hours and working conditions. Many different types of workers belong to unions: mechanics, teachers, factory workers, actors, police officers, airline pilots, janitors, doctors, writers and so forth. To form a bargaining unit -- a group who will be represented by a union in dealing with their employer -- a group of workers must be voluntarily recognized by their employer, or a majority of workers in a bargaining unit must vote for representation.
In general, it is legal for employers to try to persuade employees not to unionize. However, it is illegal for a company to attempt to prevent employees from unionizing by promises of violence, threats or other coercive action. It is also illegal for unions to use lies or threats of violence to intimidate employees into joining a union.
An employer is required by law to bargain in good faith with a union, although an employer is not required to agree to any particular terms. Once an agreement is reached through negotiations, a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is signed. A CBA is a negotiated agreement between a labor union and an employer that sets terms of employment for members of that union and provisions for wages, hours, conditions, vacation, sick days, benefits, etc. After a CBA is signed, an employer can’t change anything detailed in the agreement without the union representative’s approval. The CBA lasts for a set period of time, and the union monitors the employer to make sure the employer abides by the contract. If a union believes an employer has breached the CBA, the union can file a grievance, which may be ultimately resolved through a process known as arbitration.
A union works somewhat like a democracy. Unions hold elections to determine officers who will make decisions and represent the members. There are many laws governing union elections.
A locally based group of workers who have a charter from a national or international union is known as a union local. The union local might be made up of workers from the same company or region. They may also be workers from the same business sector, employed by different companies.
#2004 Mar 31, 2013
Benefits of Union Membership
Union members have the benefit of negotiating with their employer as a group. This basic right gives them much more power than if they were to negotiate individually. On average, union employees make 27 percent more than nonunion workers. Ninety-two percent of union workers have job-related health coverage versus 68 percent for nonunion workers. Union workers also have a great advantage over nonunion workers in securing guaranteed pensions.
Through their CBAs and the grievance and arbitration processes, unions help to protect their employees from unjust dismissal. Therefore, most union employees cannot be fired without “just cause,” unlike many nonunion employees who are considered “at-will” employees and can be fired at any time and for almost any reason.
Another powerful union tool is the strike. As we mentioned earlier, a strike is when a group of workers stops working in protest to labor conditions or as a bargaining tool during negotiations between labor and management. There is significant debate about whether or not strikes are effective, but there may be circumstances where a strike is a necessary last resort for a union.
#2005 Mar 31, 2013
The Taft-Hartley Labor Act
A significant number of strikes and increasing union power led Congress to pass the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) in 1947. Also known as the Taft-Hartley Labor Act, the LMRA amended parts of the NLRA. In order to stem the number of strikes, the LMRA enlarged the National Labor Relations Board, firmly establishing its control over labor disputes. It also authorized the government to get an 80-day injunction against any strike thought to be a danger to public health or security and outlawed union contributions to political campaigns.
Significantly, the LMRA outlawed secondary boycotts. Secondary boycotts were a measure used in lieu of or in addition to a traditional strike. A union would set up a picket line at a company -- one with which the union did not have a labor dispute -- to pressure it to not do business with another company that was involved in a labor dispute with the union. For example, if brewery workers had a problem with their employer, they might set up a secondary boycott of the glass company that supplied bottles to their brewery, thereby putting pressure on the brewery by protesting against its supplier.
Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959
As you can see, the mid-twentieth century was an important -- and busy -- time for labor legislation. The Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) established a "Bill of Rights" for union members. The act was also passed because of a concern about union involvement in organized crime, a lack of transparency in union activities and a lack of democracy within unions. The LMRDA’s provisions include freedom of speech and assembly, protection from undeserved punishment, a vote in determing dues and fees, and the right to file suit and to participate in union activities.
Other clauses of the law include:
•Requirements for reporting and disclosure by employers, labor relations consultants, union officers and employees and surety companies when engaging in certain activities
•Rules for establishing and maintaining trusteeships
•Safeguards for protecting union funds
•Standards for conducting fair elections of union officers:
As we said before, one of the main goals of the LMRDA was to increase the level of democracy within unions. The law's changes to how unions run officer elections were intended to increase participation, communication and transparency. According to the LMRDA, all union members have to be notified by mail at least 15 days before every election. Candidates are allowed to examine a union's membership list -- but only once -- within 30 days of the election. Union and employer funds cannnot be used to promote any candidates. Actual elections must be held at least every three years. Voting is done by secret ballot and election observors must be permitted to monitor the proceedings.
#2006 Mar 31, 2013
Labor Unions Today
The country’s most prominent union, the AFL-CIO, is actually a labor federation made up of 54 member unions with more than 10 million members. Change to Win, which was formed in September 2005, is another major labor federation. It encompasses seven unions and 6 million workers. Other prominent unions include the United Auto Workers, the Service Employees International Union and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The Teamsters are especially famous for their one-time leader Jimmy Hoffa, whose son is now the union’s president.
While labor unions are not as prominent today as they once were, they still play a vital role in protecting and representing America’s workforce. Sweatshop conditions, at one time thought to be banished from the U.S., have seen a resurgence in recent years. Poor immigrant workers have been frequent victims of sweatshops. So unions, labor groups and social activists have responded by mobilizing awareness campaigns, lobbying the government for action and talking to clothing companies about whom they contract with.
In addition to monitoring and reporting exploitative working conditions, unions are also important in allowing employees to effectively bargain for their wages and to provide a support system for an employee should he or she suffer from any discrimination at work. Unions provide a check against employers who attempt to encroach upon the rights of workers.
#2007 Mar 31, 2013
Heroic Leader or Thug?
Jimmy Hoffa was the legendary leader of the Teamsters, notorious for his connections to organized crime but also considered by some to be a heroic labor leader. On July 30, 1975, Hoffa disappeared while waiting for two mafia figures outside the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Detroit, Michigan. Hoffa was declared legally dead in 1982; numerous stories have arisen to explain where his body is (cremation and under Giants Stadium in New Jersey are two popular theories). Since his disappearance, Hoffa has become both a popular culture icon and a symbol of the tangled dealings between some union leaders and organized crime.
#2008 Mar 31, 2013
This page provides answers to the following questions:
1. Can my employer terminate me without a good reason?
Yes. In fact, most employees in the United States are at-will employees, even though most employees are unaware of this situation. In most states, the law presumes that private sector employees are employed "at-will." The employment-at-will doctrine provides that both the employer and the employee can end the employment relationship at any time without notice or reason. This means the employer has the right to terminate your employment at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all or for a bad reason, so long as the reason is not illegal - even if you performance has been outstanding. The other side of the "at-will" coin is that you, as an employee, can quit your job for any reason at any time. You cannot be forced to work for an employer. You don't have to give your employer a reason for quitting.
2. Are there any exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine?
Yes, there are several exceptions. You are not an at-will employee if you have a contract, such as a union contract. When an employee is covered under an employment contract, you can only be terminated as the contract permits. If the employer does not follow the contract in terminating or disciplining you, you may have a breach of contract claim.
A handbook or personnel code may also be a contract. However, if there is a disclaimer in your handbook, it may not be a contract. State laws vary in evaluating whether a handbook is a contract. You should consult your own state's law to determine if your state considers handbooks to be contracts between employers and employees.
All federal employees are protected from any termination that violates the United States Constitution or the constitution of the state in which they work. For example, an employee's rights to freedom of speech, association, religion, or freedom from unlawful search and seizure may be at issue when an employee is terminated. For more information about Federal Employees rights, check out Federal Employees Legal Survival Guide under the publications link on this page.
An employee may not be terminated for an illegal reason such as their race, sex, age, religion, nationality, or disability. If you believe you were terminated because of such a reason, please see our section on discrimination for additional information on the different types of illegal discrimination and on filing a discrimination claim.
This page was updated on March 7, 2006
#2009 Mar 31, 2013
Happy Resurrection Day everyone!!!!
#2010 Mar 31, 2013
. Has anyone else noticed that the guys that keep bringing up the drug issue are alcoholics. Just thought that was a little ironic.
#2011 Mar 31, 2013
I can think for myself! I don't want the company thinking they can take money from me at anytime. You obviously don't under stand how the union works. Its obvious that what you do know about a union is from what someone who is against a union has told you, which are plenty of myths!
Look there is NO One coming into our plant. If we get a union, the people running it will be us! How is that not thinking for ourselves? We elect each other!!! We vote on issues!!! We are speaking for ourselves obviously!! If we ever had to go to court to fight the company then we can get help from higher up and they help with lawyers!
What about all of that doesn't click with you?
Why don't you want a contract?
Why don't you want that security?
What security does the company give you? They cant even tell you there will not be cuts in 6 months!
Why didn't we get a 2 percent raise this year? Because Aurora's numbers were down. right? So this was a company issue, right?
So why are you saying that the pay cuts are only a Aurora issue?
These business decisions that are being made is an Rotek Issue!! If they happen there, it will happen here!
There is No reason they need us to take these concessions. Rotek is not going anywhere. Have you heard management tell you that if a union forms then we'll lose our jobs? No, you haven't.
If you have heard that it has come from someone else. Haters!! If you are to make a sound decision, your not going to get straight information from someone who doesn't want a union to form.
Plants shut down and move for economic issues not because unions form!
Look at the stock market. Corporate America has never made this much money in all of history!!!!!
Rotek doesn't need 20 or 30 percent from anybody, They have PLENTY!
As far as paying dues, Guys its 1.4 percent of your weekly pay, somewhere around 14 bucks a week.
So it's 1.4 percent or 20 to 30 percent. NO Brainer!!
Rotek south for many years didn't need a union but new leadership with a different business plan cause's change and it's time for us to change too!
As far as cars being messed with, whose to say Kevin or someone isn't out there being mischievous to make others look bad. We just don't know, could be anyone! This shouldn't be happening at all. Its a pi$$ poor way to handle a situation!
#2012 Mar 31, 2013
This article below has great charts Where you can see that corporate America are earning well above what they did before the recession! Why's rotek want our money now?
profits/index.htmhttp://econom ix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/2 9/record-corporate-profits/l
#2013 Mar 31, 2013
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