Union organizing may help workers improve wages, benefits

Many New York workers may be interested in joining a union in order to strengthen their collective capacity to obtain higher wages, better working conditions and other rights on the job. There are many large national and international unions, but some workers even form small unions at their workplace. The important factor is that workers come together in their industry to organize together to challenge their employer's practices. There are a number of federal and state laws intended to protect workers' rights to organize with one another and pursue collective bargaining.

When a union is recognized at a workplace, management must negotiate with union representatives to develop a contract that governs conditions. This contract may contain provisions related to wages, working conditions, time off, health care or other employee benefits. By negotiating together, unions help to achieve these goals for all workers, rather than pitting employees against one another to gain a better deal from the company. In order to gain union recognition and bargaining power, however, workers must often go through a more extensive process. They may need to have a formal election to show that the majority of workers want to be represented collectively.

Of course, because labor unions often provide workers with greater power in the employment relationship, many companies or managers may try to stop the organizing campaign. However, certain types of union organizing activity are protected, and workers may not be terminated from their jobs for these reasons.

Unions may give many workers a greater sense of control on the job as well as important material accomplishments like higher wages and improved conditions. Workers considering organizing and facing interference may consult with a union representation attorney about how they might protect their rights.

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