Organizing Information

For information on organizing, contact Teamsters Local 67 Frank Myers or John Sminkey at (202) 526-3600 or use our contact form

If you need an authorization card, click here, print the form, sign it and drop it off or mail it to Teamsters Local 67, 2120 Bladensburg Rd N. E. Suite 209, Washington, DC 20018.

The National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1935 to administer the National Labor Relations Act, the primary law governing relations between unions and employers in the private sector. The statute guarantees the right of employees to organize and to bargain collectively with their employers or to refrain from all such activity.

Generally applying to all employers involved in interstate commerce--other than airlines, railroads, agriculture, and government--the Act implements the national labor policy of assuring free choice and encouraging collective bargaining as a means of maintaining industrial peace. Through the years, Congress has amended the Act and the Board and courts have developed a body of law drawn from the statute.

What Does the NLRB Do?

In its statutory assignment, the NLRB has two principal functions: (1) to determine, through [secret-ballot elections,] the free democratic choice by employees whether they wish to be represented by a union in dealing with their employers and if so, by which union; and (2) to prevent and remedy unlawful acts, called [unfair labor practices,] by either employers or unions.

The Election Process

The first step in the organizing process begins when a group of employees decides they want to band together to deal with their employers. This doesn't mean necessarily that all the employees are unhappy. Some may be. But some may just like some of the things that unionization can bring them. Some of those things are typically a better standard of living, better working conditions, better benefits, greater work opportunities, training and being a part of something that stands for working people and families to name a few reasons.

When enough interest exists, the Union may seek to collect authorization cards. The authorization card states that the employee is interested in having the IBT or another labor organization represent them for purposes of collective bargaining.

When the Union gets 30% of the authorization cards of an appropriate employee unit the Union may petition the NLRB to conduct an election to determine if a majority of the employees voting in the group at hand wish to have the Union represent them. Most unions will not usually file a petition with only 30% of the cards collected. As you can readily see, 30% does not constitute a majority of the employees. Thus, a union will probably wait until there is a better show of support before filing an election petition.

Once a petition is filed, the company is notified by the NLRB within a couple of days. If the Union and the employer agree that the petitioned for unit is an appropriate unit, the parties can sign a stipulated election agreement and set a date, time, and place for the secret ballot election or arrangements for a mail ballot if necessary.

At the same time the petition is filed a hearing date is set to occur within 2 weeks. If the company and the union cannot agree on the make up of the proposed bargaining unit a hearing officer of the NLRB conducts the hearing to resolve these disputes. Each side has the opportunity to file briefs and shortly thereafter a decision is made by the Regional Office of the NLRB in Seattle.

After the hearing decision the NLRB will make arrangements on the conduct of the election provided the Union still has a sufficient showing of interest after the decision renders the size of the unit. The election is also scheduled to occur within approximately 7 weeks from the date the petition is filed. If the decision significantly increases the size of the bargaining unit the Union may not have collected 30% of the authorization cards and would have to do so before the NLRB will conduct an election.

The time between the hearing and the secret ballot election is commonly referred to as the "organizing drive." This is the period when the employer tries to convince the employees in the unit to vote "no" in the election. This is also the time the Union tries to convince employees to vote "yes" in the election.

The advantage at this stage often goes to the employer unless the employees are solidly resolved to stick together. Some employers have been known to wage an all out assault on the Union. Others try to shower their employees with love. Some do both. Smart employees understand it is usually nothing more than a ploy. Often, employers use psychology to prey on the fears or insecurities of their employees. This can be an effective tool for the employer. Remember, however, that the election simply allows the Union to sit at the bargaining table with the employer at no cost to the employee. And remember also that the election is a secret ballot. There is no way the employer will know how employees vote unless the employee freely divulges that information to the employer.

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