Building Power for Better Contracts
While skilled negotiators and strong Stewards on the bargaining committee are extremely important, the best negotiators and strongest Stewards in the world can’t get a good contract if UFCW 227 has no power
Building power for our union means having members that are both united and active. Employers are influenced by unity among our membership, but there are other factors outside the workplace that also influence UFCW 227’s power in contract negotiations.
Non-union competitors: When competitors are able to pay lower wages because they are non-union, our companies argue they need to “compete” with non-union companies. This is why it is so important that we are actively trying to help organize other workers in their industry. Do you know someone in your who works in your industry for a non-union employer? Talk to them about our union.
Political activism: We work hard and must continue to work to elect people who will pass laws that make life better for hard working men and women. Raising wages, making benefits more affordable, stronger safety standards – it’s policies like these that can help make our contracts even better. As a member, you can sign up to attend our Lobby Day’s in Frankfort and Indianapolis or join the Active Ballot Club to increase our power.
Percent of local workers organized: Companies compare what they pay to what other companies pay in our area. If our neighbors are non-union and get lower wages the company will argue that they shouldn’t pay more. This is why it is important to support other unions in their organizing efforts too. This is also how bad laws like “right-to-work” lower wages for everyone. As the number of workers in our area become non-union, companies will lower wages.
Ability to strike and win: We hope to avoid strikes, but they still remain a key source of bargaining power. If an employer can still continue to operate, either by hiring scabs or when our members cross the picket line, strikes lose their power. Some employers plan for a strike because they think they will save more money by resisting the members’ proposals.
State of the company: It is harder to win gains from an employer that is not doing well, however, even employers who are profiting will ask for concessions.
Community support: Sometimes we ask our customers or communities not to buy a product or shop at a store. We also ask other community groups for their support to put pressure on our employers to do the right thing.
Employers who operate both union and non-union: When employers have non-union employees, they may still be able to operate during a strike.
Our power to create the better lives we want for our families lies in our unity. By working together and fighting together, we can continue to build the better life hard working men and women deserve because they’ve earned it.