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March 26, 2017
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Why Unions
Updated On: Nov 25, 2011

WHY UNIONS?

     Union members represent a broad cross section of America.  They come from all walks of life in all parts of the country.  They want what any American wants.  Peace.  Prosperity and Security.  Dignity of the Individual.  They want these for each and every American.

     There are two ways they go about getting them.  One is through collective bargaining.  The other is through political and social action.  Let's talk about them one at a time.

     Collective bargaining is a rational, democratic and peaceful way to resolve conflict.  In recent years, some 150,000 collective bargaining agreements have been made.  Only two percent of them were affected by strikes.  So in 98 percent of all cases, collective bargaining was successful.  Not a bad record.

     Back around the turn of the century, things were different.  There were not very many unions then, and those that existed had a tough time of it.  Employer resistance to collective bargaining was fierce and many times violent.  There was no National Labor Relations Act then to give workers the right to organize and to promote collective bargaining.  But workers persisted and the fledgling unions survived.  Collective Bargaining became the accepted way of regulating employer-employee disputes.

     It took a lot of nerve for employees to stand up for their rights in those days.  There were no job safety standards, paid vacations, sick leave or retirement plan.  Hiring and firing, promotion and layoff policies were under the exclusive control of employers.

     But they did it, and today we are enjoying the results.  You can't put a price tag on the human dignity individual workers feel when they stand up for their rights, either.

     It hasn't changed today.  Every time the Union-negotiated contract expires, the members have to assess the situation again.  They look at their wages and compare them with current price levels; look at company profits; determine if pensions, health and medical plans are adequate.  These are quantitative factors that go into wages and salaries at Collective Bargaining time.

     There are qualitative factors, too.  Things like work rules, work speeds, occupational safety and health, time off for vacations and holidays, and promotion policies.

     Put them all together and you have a package of wages, benefits, and work rules that becomes the subject of contract negotiations.  Employers - large or small - don't just hand out this package.  The employees have to stick together, send their elected representatives into the negotiating room with employers or their representatives, and through a process of fact finding, discussion, argument and debate, make an agreement on just what the package will contain.  Then the membership has to ratify or reject it.

     We call it collective bargaining, and it has played a vital part in lifting the living standards of the American worker to the highest level in the world.

      Think about this next time you hear a company official say, "Here's what we give our employees."  Even if that company doesn't have a Union or the employees he is talking about aren't part of the Union in the firm, do you really think they would give these wages and benefits if there were no Unions?  Maybe.  But it isn't likely unless a pattern of Union-won gains is in existence.

     But even then, the employee has no voice in matters affecting the job.  Where's the dignity in that system?  Or security?


  Current Campaigns  
  • The ‘Let’s Get America Working!’ campaign seeks to restore a dynamic and prosperous middle class to drive economic growth by helping to advance policy decisions that create and maintain good middle-income jobs, guarantee retirement security, expand access to the American Dream, and ensure that the benefits of the ongoing economic recovery are felt by the many, not just the few.

  • We Are eXPOsing XPO’s Global Greed

    XPO Logistics is a top ten global logistics and transportation company with annual revenue of $15 billion and 89,000 employees, another 10,000 workers classified as independent contractors, and thousands more working for firms that subcontract with XPO. We are the REAL workers at XPO Logistics worldwide exposing the truth about the company’s global greed, illegal wage theft, unsafe conditions, and abhorrent and vicious anti-worker, anti-union tactics. 

    This greed includes mistreating former Con-way Freight workers in the United States who are being kept in the dark about terminal closures and layoffs, and the company’s illegal refusal to bargain contracts and denying their workers’ federally protected right to organize. It also includes port, rail and last-mile drivers around the country and in Southern California fighting wage theft in excess of $200 million because they are misclassified as independent contractors and denied the right to form their union. This greed has caused numerous lawsuits and strikes.  Greed also means an unsafe workplace and mistreating its warehouse employees.

    XPO’s greed extends to Europe beginning with breaking its promise to not layoff any workers for at least 18 months. French workers and the unions have been fighting back against XPO’s disrespect, lies and attempts to slash jobs. Similar struggles are taking place in Great Britain, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, and across Europe.

    Join the worldwide struggle now! Get involved with this campaign by joining the Facebook group “XPO Exposed.”

    Together, we can eXPOse the company’s global greed and win fairness, respect and dignity for tens of thousands of XPO employees around the world!

  • This webpage provides information on the Teamsters Union’s legislative advocacy at both the federal and state level as well as our field activity to support those policy positions and to get strong labor candidates elected to office.  Among other resources, you will find our federal legislative scorecard, formal statements of policy position and communications to Capitol Hill,  a weekly update on federal legislative happenings, an overview of bills we are tracking at the state level, and quick links to take action on priority issues.

  • Negotiations for the National Master Automobile Transporters Agreement (NMATA) recently concluded and a tentative agreement has been reached. On Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 representatives from carhaul local unions met in Detroit to endorse the National Agreement and the Central-Southern Supplement, paving the way for members to vote. The Eastern and Western Supplements were approved in 2016, and will not be re-voted. However, all carhaul members will get to exercise their right to vote on the National Agreement and General Monetary Changes.

    Ballots will be mailed out on or about March 10 and are tentatively scheduled to be counted on March 30.

    The tentative agreement is from September 1, 2015, until May 31, 2021.

  • The IBT-Airline Division has established this page as a place to get up-to-date information about the Republic Airways Holdings (RAH) bankruptcy.  Please check here for the latest information about the bankruptcy.

  • Workers’ pensions are being endangered by both Congress and those charged with overseeing them. The Teamsters and our members are standing united to say “No!” to cuts and “Yes!” to greater retirement security!

  • The Teamsters Union represents more than 250,000 members at UPS and UPS Freight. UPS remains an active member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) despite the organization’s anti-worker and anti-union agenda that seeks to undermine and weaken worker protections.

  • This web page provides information on our fight against fast-track legislation. The measure requires Congress to take only a quick up-or-down vote on secret trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and does not allow such agreements to be amended. It limits Congress’ constitutionally mandated oversight of such trade deals and lets others decide what’s best for America. The result is fewer good-paying U.S. jobs and unsafe food and products for Americans. Read more to find out why fast track is the wrong track for Teamsters and America.

  • Workers across the country at FedEx Freight and Con-way Freight are standing shoulder to shoulder to form their unions with the Teamsters to win a more secure future. Momentum is building with a first wave of victories with many more to come.

    There is growing worker resentment toward the companies after years of being treated unfairly. While the companies have suddenly made improvements since workers began to organize, workers know that without a legally binding contract the company can take these things away at any time.

    The unfulfilled promises that have been made to drivers and dockworkers over the past decade are coming back to haunt management.

    But now workers are taking action and standing up for themselves by forming their union. It's a different era now. It's Teamster Time! LIKE our Facebook page, here.

  • Teamsters are been standing together to protect good jobs at Sysco and US Foods. Our solidarity on many fronts helped to defeat the mega-merger of the two companies, which would have put thousands of jobs at risk. But challenges remain as both companies refine their plans. Join our campaign to ensure these foodservice giants honor their agreements with 11,500 Teamsters and help us bring more Sysco and US Foods workers into the Teamster family. LIKE our Facebook page, here.

     

     
 
 
Teamsters Local 745
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