F A Q
The following Questions and Answers may help you decide if joining
or forming a union is right for you.
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MACHINISTS UNION
Q. Who are the members of the Machinists Union?
A. Over a half million men and women
who work in more than 350 job classifications or industries, as
defined by the U.S. Department of Labor, in the commercial,
manufacturing, non-manufacturing, private, public, Federal, state
and local government sectors of our nation's economy. They live in
all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Panama, Puerto Rico, and
the 10 provinces of Canada. Although the Machinists Union began as
a railroad union in 1888, today it has one of the most diversified
memberships of any organization of its kind.
Q. What are some major industries employing IAM
A. Aerospace, air transport and auto
repair are three industries where the Machinists Union is the
largest, or among the largest, unions representing employees. They
work in occupations ranging from front office, computer,
clerical, medical and technical positions all the way to the shop
floor as tool and die makers, machinists, production, maintenance
and security jobs.
Machinist Union members are also employed in metal products
manufacturing facilities, on the railroads, in the Federal, state
and local government, and in design, construction, repair,
support, and maintenance work in an almost endless variety of
skills and occupational endeavors.
Q. Are most Machinists Union members actually
A. No. Originally, Machinists Union
members were all skilled craftsmen. Today, however, the union's
membership includes, professional, office, clerical, computer,
technical, and medical employees, as well as journeymen and
apprentice craft persons, helpers, production, maintenance and
specialists of all kinds. Membership includes women and workers
from nearly all racial, ethnic, and religious groups.
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THE LAW - SAYS YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO JOIN A UNION
THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT SAYS:
"Employees shall have the right to self organization, to
form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively
through representation of their own choosing, and to engage in
other concerted activities for the purpose of collective
bargaining . . . "
"It shall be an unfair labor practice for an employer . .
. to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise
of the rights guaranteed in Section 7 . . . "
YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS
You have the legal right under Section 7 of the National Labor
Relations Act to join or support a union and to:
1. Attend meetings to discuss joining a union.
2. Read, distribute, and discuss union literature (as long as
you do this in non-work areas, such as break rooms or parking
lots, during non-work times, such as during breaks or lunch
3. Wear union buttons, T-shirts, stickers, hats, or other items
on the job.
4. Sign a petition or card asking your employer to recognize
and bargain with the union.
5. Sign petitions or file grievances related to wages, hours,
working conditions, and other job issues.
6. Ask other employees to support the union, to sign union
petitions or cards, or to file grievances.
PROTECTION FROM EMPLOYER ACTION
Under Section 8 of the National Labor Relations Act, your
employer cannot legally punish or discriminate against any worker
because of union activity.
For example, your employer cannot legally do the
- Threaten to or actually fire, lay off, discipline, harass,
transfer, or reassign employees because they support the union.
- Shut down the work site or take away any benefits or
privileges employees already enjoy in order to discourage union
- Promise employees a pay increase, promotion, benefit, or
special favor if they oppose the union.
- Favor employees who don’t support the union over those who
do in promotions, job assignments, wages, hours, enforcement of
rules, or any other working condition.
ENFORCING YOUR RIGHTS
Some employers try to prevent the workers from joining a union.
The best way to encourage your employer to recognize your
union and negotiate a fair contract is to build a strong
organization where you work.
If your employer violates the law, the union can help you file
"unfair labor practice" charges with the National Labor
The Labor Board has the power - backed up by the federal courts
- to order an employer to stop interfering with employee rights,
to provide back pay, and to reverse any action taken against
workers for union activity.
YOU CAN HELP PROTECT YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS BY:
- Keep written notes of any incidents in which company
officials or supervisors threaten, harass, or punish workers
because of union activity. Your notes don’t have to be worded a
certain way, but you should include what was said or done, who was
involved, where and when it happened, and the names of any
- Immediately report any such incidents to your
organizing committee and the union staff.
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To send this form by postal mail or to contact IAM
District 10 by mail please write to:
1650 South 38th Street
You may print this form and fax it to:
FAX 414 643-4715
For More Information