Frequently Asked Questions
What is a union?
A union is a democratic organization of employees in a workplace who choose to join together to achieve common goals. By forming unions, employees can work collectively to improve working conditions, including wages and benefits, hours and job safety, to resolve disagreements of employees and employers and to find the best ways to get the work done. Unions also represent members and all people who work by advocating working family-friendly laws and policies through legislative and political action. Most people who work in this country have the right to form and join unions under the 1935 National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which encourages union formation. Yet millions of workers, such as farm laborers, domestic workers and managers, are not covered by the NLRA. Many of them, though, are organizing and partnering with the AFL-CIO to gain workplace rights.
How do workers form a union?
Does the law protect workers joining unions?
Working people in America have certain basic legal rights to safe, healthy and fair conditions at work. But many employers—perhaps yours—violate these fundamental rights because they value their profits more than their workers.
Click here to find out more about your rights at work.
What kinds of workers are forming unions today?
A wider range of workers than ever before are joining unions—doctors and nurses, agriculture workers and graduate employees at universities, home health care aides and wireless communications workers, auto parts workers and engineers…and that’s just to name a few.
How do unions help working families today?
Unions are helping workers win better wages, benefits and a voice on the job. Good union jobs mean stronger communities. Union workers earn 30% more than nonunion workers and are more likely to receive health care and pension benefits than those without a union. In 2005, median weekly earnings for full-time union wage and salary workers were $833, compared with $642 for their nonunion counterparts. Unions lead the fight today for better lives for working people, such as through expanded family and medical leave, improved safety and health protections and fair-trade agreements that lift the standard of living for workers all over the world.
What have unions accomplished for all workers?
Unions have made life better for all working Americans by helping to pass laws that provide protection for workers. Unions have played a key role in ending child labor, establishing the eight-hour day, protecting workers’ safety and health and helping create Social Security, unemployment insurance and a living wage.
What is the Labor Council?
The San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council is the local central body affiliate of the AFL-CIO. The Labor Council offers an avenue for local unions to come together as a unified group to improve the lives of working families.
The San Diego Labor Council includes approximately 135 affiliated labor groups within San Diego and Imperial Counties with a membership of more than 250,000 local working families.
We are not a union, but a union of unions. We cover every sector of the workplace, including members in the building and construction trades, hotel workers, longshoremen, nurses, fire fighters, teachers, electricians, postal workers and hundreds of others in San Diego and Imperial Counties.
How can I get involved with the Labor Council?
You can join the labor movement in San Diego many different ways!