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How does organizing work?

Once a strong majority of employees commit to  supporting the union, they approach the Labor Relations Board to have an election. After a majority of employees vote yes, management will be legally obligated to negotiate as equals with employees over wages, benefits and work rules.

In the meantime, you will form a committee of your co-workers to represent you at the bargaining table, along with a professional negotiator from AFSCME. The Bargaining Committee will distribute a survey to determine the priorities of the membership for the upcoming negotiations.

Once a tentative contract is reached between the Bargaining Committee and management, the contract will be voted on by all the union members at your workplace. If a majority vote to accept the contract, it will go into effect.

How long does that process take?

It can vary dramatically.  It depends largely on the employees who are organizing the local: on how much time they can commit to the process, and how quickly they can move through the steps necessary to organize.

The time between starting to organize and holding a successful election typically takes more than a few months and less than a year, but each campaign is unique.  Throughout their effort, the union will provide staff to assist workers who want to organize.

Why do we pay dues and when do we start?

Dues allow workers to pool our limited resources together to fight for our interests. But you do not begin paying dues until the first contract is signed. You will receive the resources and staff support of the union, for many months before you pay any dues.

The average AFSCME member in Illinois pays less than 1.2% of salary for union dues—a fraction of the increases they win in wages and benefits as a result of joining AFSCME. Your dues are an investment in yourself, your family and your future.

What happens to my dues?

Your dues pay for a wide range of resources, staff, services and supplies that all exist for one reason: to help members improve their pay, benefits and working conditions. The following are just some of the services your dues pay for: