Challenges of Organizing a Union

Unions allow workers to come together to negotiate for fair wages, safe working conditions, and the benefits they deserve.

Typical Employer Tactics: It is important to know the typical tactics employers might use to fight the formation of a Union in their workplace so you can overcome them. When you and your coworkers stick together, you can build a better workplace for everyone.

For management, a Union means that they lose power over their employees, and that they will have to increase wages, benefits, and more. As a result, many employers will work hard to keep workers from organizing a Union.

It is important to be on the lookout for your employer’s attempts to coerce, manipulate, bribe, or even threaten you or your co-workers. If you see any of these behaviors, report them immediately to your Organizing Representative.

Asking you to give them another chance

Employers may admit to making mistakes, but then say that those mistakes won’t happen again. They might even send formal apologies and make promises that they don’t intend to keep.

Telling you that the company is a family

Some companies try to appeal to your sense of loyalty, claiming that you’re part of a family. They might try to claim that Local 342 is “an outsider” that shouldn’t be intruding. They often try to convince workers that the Union is an outside party coming in, but don’t forget that you are the Union.


Your company might make changes that employees like, such as paid vacation time or extra hours. These changes are rarely permanent, however. Once the threat of a Union goes away, the company has no incentive to keep those positive changes around. They often revert back to the way things were, confident that workers don’t have the ability to do anything about it.

A sudden change in attitude

Sometimes, the attitude of your manager or the entire company will dramatically improve. They might hold meetings with you to listen to your concerns, or they’ll do things to try and prove that they appreciate you as a worker. They might even organize activities that they’ve never done before (like picnics, paid lunches, or family gatherings), trying to convince you to ignore the other problems at work.

Claiming that management won’t listen to the Union

Management might try to convince you that Unions don’t actually do much good, or stating that they won’t bargain with the Union once it is formed. Worse, they might threaten to ignore the contract they negotiate with the Union. Under federal law, your company must cooperate when workers form a Union, but they’ll try and convince you that they won’t.

Pressuring Team Leaders and Supervisors

Management may pressure your supervisors to spread anti-union messages throughout your workplace. It is not unusual for anti-Union videos and other forms of propaganda to be shown at mandatory “team meetings” to try and convince people not to form a Union.

Threatening Your Benefits

It is against the law to threaten to take away your benefits as punishment for supporting a Union, but some companies are so desperate, they will threaten anyway. If this happens, contact your Union Organizing Representative immediately.

Spreading Misinformation about Union Dues

Your employer might try and convince you that you’ll have to pay to form a Union, or that your dues will mean that you take home less money. These lies are intended to scare you. Workers aren’t required to pay any of the costs of forming a Union. You’ll pay dues only after you vote to approve your contract. Because Union workers make more money and have more benefits, you’ll still have an advantage, even after paying your dues.

And the great thing about your dues is that your money goes directly to services that help you, like legal assistance, safety department resources, and representatives who ensure your contract is followed by your employer.

Anti-Union Consultants

Management may get so desperate that they hire highly paid Union-busting consultants to keep you from forming a Union.