Council 65 - Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota

Should You Form a Union at Your Workplace?

A union is a group of employees organized to represent their voice and have a say in negotiating wages, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment.

Many employees form a union to ensure they have a “seat at the table” when it comes to their terms and conditions of employment.

As a union, you and your co-workers bargain collectively in good faith, with your employer, resulting in a binding contract.

There are laws in place to protect your right to organize and bargain collectively. It is against the law for the employer to make threats, intimidate you or ask you about your union activity (or non-activity).

AFSCME Council 65 is a member-driven non-profit organization that has been legally representing employees’ interests for decades.

In order for the employer to recognize a union in the workplace, there are certain steps that must be taken:

1) A group of employees develops an Organizing Committee, with or without the assistance of AFSCME Staff. 

2) Once a significant amount of employees show an interest in forming a union, the Organizing Committee authorizes AFSCME to file a petition with the State Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) if you work in the public sector--or National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) if you work in the private sector-- to certify the unit for a secret-ballot election.  

3) Upon receipt of such petition, the BMS/NLRB will issue what is called a Maintenance of Status Quo Order that must be posted in the workplace. This Order prevents the employer from changing existing terms and conditions, wages, and benefits until the election is completed. Such Order also prevents the union and employer from interfering or intimidating employees in regard to the election.

4) A secret-ballot election will be conducted by the BMS/NLRB. This is usually conducted via United States Mail within 30 days of the certification of the eligible unit.

5) If the majority votes to form a union, then BMS/NLRB will certify the union and negotiations with the employer may begin. The employer would not be able to implement changes in terms and conditions, wages and benefits without negotiation with the union.

    If the majority votes NOT to form a union, then the Status Quo Order expires and the employer may implement changes without negotiations with the employees.


If you would like assistance forming a union at your workplace, please contact us!

Jo Musel Parr, Organizing Director
Direct: 651-332-1615
  Toll-free: 1-888-474-3242 ext.211 


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