Council 65 - Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota

Organizing News

PHASE Employee Information

What is AFSCME and how does a Union get started?

AFSCME Council 65 represents 14,000 workers in Minnesota and South Dakota with more than 300 separate Local Unions.  Council 65 Members are employed by cities, counties and school districts, health care facilities and non-profit organizations.

Local Union Members and AFSCME Staff work together to negotiate agreements regarding terms and conditions of employment for workers, convene Local Union meetings, and help settle differences between the workers and employers.

A successful organizing campaign involves the employees.  AFSCME Staff help with planning, training, and also talking to workers. But the backbone of a good campaign involves employees talking to co-workers.

The PHASE campaign is in the early stages, and it is UP TO THE WORKERS to vote on a union.  If enough employees express an interest in a union, ONLY THEN would an election be scheduled. You and your co-workers must vote FOR the union by a majority through the democratic process.


Q & A – Employees’ rights and Union elections

What if the employer does not want a union?
Most often the employer may not want one.  But in the U.S. workers have the right to organize and support a union in their workplace.  U.S. and Minnesota Laws are clear: it is illegal for any employer to interfere with employees that are organizing.  This means that the employer could face charges if they intimidate, coerce, or fire employees.  Nor can the employer suddenly make promises of better pay or promotions to expressly signal to employees that they don’t need a union. 

Can I talk to co-workers about the union at work?
Yes.  The laws are clear on this too.  You’re First Amendment Rights—to free speech—allow you to talk to your co-workers about anything at work, AS LONG AS YOU ARE NOT PREVENTING THEM FROM DOING THEIR WORK.  If you make a habit at work of disrupting other workers to talk about ANYTHING—football, cars, or weather—you’ll probably be fired.  The same is true if you disrupt work discussing unions.  Break times are a good time to discuss, ask, and answer questions with each other about the union.

How does an election work?
You may be asked by a co-worker or AFSCME staff-organizer “what do you think about the union . . . do you support the idea?”  You can ask questions to learn more.  If you’re interested in holding an election—to let the employees decide—you’re asked to complete an interest card.  Filling this out DOES NOT make you a member, and the cards are NEVER shared with the employer. Those cards are ONLY shared with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) - the NLRB decides there is enough interest, they then announce and facilitate an election.   If a majority of you and your co-workers vote for a union, then the employer and the employee union start negotiating a contract.     

How do I get more information?
Informational meetings are being scheduled soon.  We will get the word out about times and locations for meetings through flyers, the same way you likely received a flyer that directed you to this link. Many attend these meetings to ask questions directly of co-workers and AFSCME Staff.  We hope you will consider attending.









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