When you decide you want to join together with your fellow employees to improve your jobs, you can contact IBEW Local 1245 to help you get started. IBEW Local 1245 can explain how the process works. If a union campaign appears viable at your place of work, Local 1245 can provide expertise and resources to help you achieve your goal.
There are two basic paths to forming a union: a certification election or a card check.”
Certification Election: In a certification election, IBEW Local 1245 helps employees circulate union authorization cards. By signing a card, an employee indicates interest in having union representation. If enough people sign cards, the union will petition the appropriate state or federal agency for a union representation election. In most cases this will be the National Labor Relations Board, a federal agency. For some public sector workers, the petition must go through a state agency instead. The union authorization cards that you sign are confidential–they are never shared with the employer. The only people who know that you signed a card are the union and the government agency supervising the election.
Likewise, your vote in a union election is strictly confidential. Union representation elections are conducted by a secret ballot vote–at the jobsite or by mail ballot. If IBEW Local 1245 wins a majority (50% plus one vote of those who cast ballots) the union becomes the certified representative for the defined bargaining unit. The company is then required by federal law to enter into good faith negotiations with IBEW Local 1245 for a labor agreement (contract) that specifies wages, benefits and working conditions.
Card Check: An employer can agree to union certification without an election. In a card check certification, a mutually-agreed-to third party (such as a Federal Mediator, a City Councilman, or a Mayor) verifies the authorization cards as authentic. If a majority of the employees have signed cards saying they wish to be represented by IBEW Local 1245, as verified by the third party, then the union is recognized as the legal bargaining representative for the employees and the employer is required to sit down and bargain in good faith. The names of the individuals who signed authorization cards remain confidential–they are not shared with the employer by the third party.
Negotiating a Tentative Agreement
After IBEW Local 1245 is recognized through a card check or a certification election, the union appoints a negotiating committee and begins bargaining with the employer for a contract. The union negotiating committee consists of a number of the employees with knowledge of their particular departments or work groups, joined by Local 1245 staff negotiators. The employer and the union negotiate until they reach a tentative agreement.
Ratification of the Agreement
The tentative agreement is submitted to the employees (also known as the bargaining unit”) for their approval or rejection. This process is known as the ratification of a tentative agreement.” Ballots are counted by bargaining unit members serving as the ballot committee.” The voting can be conducted at the work site or by mail. The union uses whatever process seems more inclusive. Voting on a tentative agreement is by secret ballot. No one–not even the ballot committee–can find out how any particular individual voted.
If a majority of those voting approves the tentative agreement, it goes into effect. At that point employees fill out paperwork to become members of IBEW Local 1245. Within 60 days of ratification, you would begin paying dues (usually through payroll deduction).There is no initiation fee.
If a majority rejects the tentative agreement the employer and union return to the bargaining table and continue the process. When another tentative agreement is reached, another vote is conducted. Again, if a majority approves, the provisions go into effect. If a majority rejects the tentative agreement, the parties reconvene the negotiating process until another tentative agreement is reached.
The process of bargaining between the employer and IBEW Local 1245 is governed by law. The outcome of that bargaining is not. There is no third party that enters the negotiation and unilaterally imposes an agreement. Although there is no legal guarantee that an employer will agree to a contract, IBEW Local 1245 has an excellent record of negotiating first agreements for new bargaining units.