About Union

Q. What is a Union?


A. A Union is a group of workers who are united together to have a collective voice in obtaining workplace goals. “In unity there is strength.”


Q. Who runs a union? The company says “the union” is a bunch of outsiders,
a third party.


A. YOU run your union. YOU elect your officers. YOU decide what proposals your negotiating committee will bargain for. YOU vote to accept or reject your contract with the company. YOU, THE WORKERS, ARE THE UNION.


Q.How much are dues and will I have to pay an initiation fee?


A. Dues are based off your membership type. ‘BA’ Members pay $15.00 per capita, plus 1.25% of Gross Wages per month dependent upon the agreement you’re working under. ‘A’ Members pay $29.00 per capita plus 2% of gross wages dependent upon the agreement you’re working under.

Q.Will the union make us go on strike?


A. No one can force you to go out on strike. There can only be a strike if the majority of workers vote to do so. In the IBEW strikes are a last resort. Local 47 has not had a strike in over 50 years.


Q. What happens in a “Reduction in force”?


A. Typically at our Utility employers, as it stands today, as an “at will” employee, you have no protections in the event of a force reduction. Since it is likely that we will be negotiating a new contract for your bargaining unit, we will work to insure fairness, based on seniority rights and job qualifications for “bumping.” At a Contractor the Employer has the right to hire, terminate or reject as it sees fir under the terms of the Collective Bargaining agreement.


Q. Can I get fired for helping organize a union or attend union meetings?


A. It is illegal for you to be fired, disciplined or harassed for support the union or attending union meetings. The law protects you rights a workers to form a union.


Q. Will I lose the benefits I have now?


A. No. It is against the law for the company to take away any benefits or threaten to take away any benefits you have now in order to discourage you support for your union.


Q. What can we expect the company to do to try to get us to vote against our union?


A. The Employer tries to influence employees with scare-talk, anti-union speeches and letters. On the other hand, be prepared for the company to be on their best behavior until the campaign is over. Some companies even make improvements during a campaign, hoping employees will forget about their past problems. Remember the promises.


Q. Does the company have to negotiate if our union wins the election?


A. Yes. The law required the company to bargain “in good faith” with your negotiating committee.


Q. Why must I sign a petition?


A. Your signature on an IBEW Local 47 petition indicates your support and commitment to forming your union. The petition will be used to obtain recognition of your union by the NLRB. It is not a power of attorney and gives Local 47 no authority other than to represent you in collective bargaining.


Q. Will the company see the signed petition?


A. As a general rule, the company does not see the authorization petitions. However in very rare cases, employers have been able to see the petitions as a result of later litigation. To our knowledge Local 47 and the IBEW 9th district have never been involved in litigation that required petitions to become public. Always remember your rights to sign a petition and support your union are protected by federal law.


Q. What benefits can our union guarantee?


A. There is one guarantee. With the support, strength, and unity of the workers, working together, we will win the best collective bargaining agreement possible.


Information provided by National Labor Relations Board. (310) 235-7351.

For answers to other questions you might have call the IBEW International offices at (925) 432-6158.