Authorization Card: A union card filled out by pro-union workers during a representation campaign. The card usually designates the union as a collective bargaining agent of the employee and must be dated and signed. The NLRB will accept 30% of the employees signatures on these cards or petitions as a “showing of interest” required to conduct and election. Usually a union will not file for an election unless a majority of the bargaining units members have signed authorization cards. See also Cards or Petitions. See this link: Signing a union card

Bargaining Rights: The rights outlined in section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. Rights of workers to negotiate the terms and conditions of employment through chosen representatives. The bargaining agent is designated by a majority of workers in a bargaining unit to represent the group in collective bargaining.

Bargaining Unit: A group of workers who bargain collectively with the employer. The unit may include all the workers in a single location or in a number of locations, or it may include only the workers in a single craft or department. Final unit is determined by the NLRB or agreed jointly by the union and the employer.

Becks Rights or The Beck Decision: The Supreme Court ruled in Beck c Communication Workers of America that unions could not force workers to pay dues to support political causes and matters unrelated to collective bargaining and union representation. The court ruled that political contributions must be voluntary. In 1992 then President George Bush issued and executive order that obligated all government contractors to notify their employees of the refund rights established in Harry Beck’s lawsuit. Unfortunately, this decision was ignored by the democratically controlled congress of the 1980’s. Advancing the agenda of organized labor. President Bill Clinton decided that workers should not be informed of this right. The Clinton administration repealed the decision of notifying workers of this right soon after taking office but this right still exists. The rights of workers to this refund or reduction in dues payments has been a well kept secret ever since. Notify your human resource department of your status as a Beck Objector and ask how you can reduce your dues payments.

Blocking: An NLRB decision not to proceed with an election in a bargaining unit where unresolved unfair labor practice charges exist.

Card Check Election: Procedure whereby signed authorization cards or petitions are checked against a list of employees in a prospective bargaining unit to determine if the union has majority status. The employer may recognize the union on the basis of this

Charge: Written statement of alleged unfair practices. Filing a charge with the NLRB State Labor Board is the first step in an unfair labor practice proceeding.

Charging Party: The party filing a grievance or an unfair labor practice charge.

Check-Off: A contract clause authorizing the company to deduct union dues from paychecks of those members who so authorize deductions. The company then transfers the money to the union.

Closed Shop: An agreement between an employer and a union that, as a condition of employment, all employees must belong to the union before being hired. The employer agrees to retain only those employees who belong to a union.

Collective Bargaining: A process which workers, through their bargaining committee, deal as a group to determine wages, hours and other conditions of employment. Normally, the result of collective bargaining is a written contract that covers all workers in the bargaining unit.

Authorization, also known as a Deathorization Election: This is a vote to remove the forced unionism clause or union security clause from the union contract. A deauthorization election has only one purpose and effect: to remove the forced-unionism clause from the contract. The remainder of the contract, including all wages and benefits, remains in effect and the union continues to serve as the exclusive bargaining representative, whether or not the employees pay any dues or fees. Even after a successful deathorization, every employee remains fully covered by the contract, whether or not he or she remains a union member or pays any dues.

Decertification: Withdrawal by a government agency, such as the National Labor Relations Board, of a union’s official recognition as exclusive bargaining representative. The NLRB will withdraw certification if a majority of employees vote against union representative in a decertification election.

Dues: Monthly payment by members to their unions. The amount is set by either the constitution or bylaws, and is subject to revision by the membership. Payments are based on fixed amounts or the individual member’s hourly rate. See also Becks Rights.

Exclusive Bargaining Rights: The right of a union, which has been certified, by the NLRB or other government agency to be the only union representing a particular bargaining unit.

Grievance: Any type of worker dissatisfaction including violations of the collective bargaining agreement, violations of law, violations of employer policies, violations of fair treatment, and violations of past practices. The definition of a grievance is usually part of the contract, and therefore may vary from one contract to another.

Grievance Procedure: A procedure usually established by a collective bargaining agreement to resolve disputes, problems or misunderstandings associated with the interpretation or application of the collective bargaining agreement. It consists of several steps with the last step of the procedure, usually being arbitration.

Informational Picketing: Picketing done with the express intent not to cause a work stoppage, but to publicize either the existence of a labor dispute or information concerning the dispute.

L-M Reports: The annual financial statement of income and expenses, including the salaries of -union officers and staff. Unions are required by law to file with the Labor Management (LM) Division of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Lockout: A suspension of work initiated by the employer as the result of a labor dispute. A lockout is the employer counterpart of a strike. Used primarily to pressure employees to accept the employers terms in a new contract.

Merit Increase or merit raise: Increase in wages given to an employee by the employer as a reward for exceptional performance. Unions oppose merit increases usually bargaining for all workers to receive the same pay for a particular job classification based only on length of employment.

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB): An agency created by the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 and continued through subsequent amendment, whose functions are to define the appropriate bargaining units, to hold elections, to determine whether a majority of workers want to be represented by a specific union or no union, to certify unions to represent employees, to interpret and apply the Acts provisions prohibiting certain employer and union unfair practices, and otherwise to administer the provisions of the Act.

Open Shop: Where employees do not have to belong to the union or pay dues to secure or retain employment in a company, even though there may be a collective bargaining agreement. The Union is obligated by law to represent members and non-members equally regardless of whether it is an open shop or a union shop.

Organizer: Employee of a union whose duties include recruiting new members for the union and assisting in forming unions in non-unions companies.

Raiding: A union’s attempt to enroll workers belonging to or represented by another union.

Right-to-Work States: States which have passed laws prohibiting unions from negotiating union shop clauses in their contracts with employers covered by the NLRA.

Strike: Temporary stoppage of work by a group of employees (not necessarily members of a union) to express a grievance, enforce a demand for changes in the conditions of employment, obtain recognition, or resolve a dispute with management. Strikes although intended to be temporary can drag on for months or even years. Striking employees do not get paid during a strike, cannot collect or accrue sick time or vacation pay and cannot collect unemployment pay.

Unfair Labor Practices or ULP: Those employer or union activities classified as “unfair” by federal or state labor relations acts. Under the NLRA, employer unfair labor practices include employer threats against protected collective activity, employer domination of unions, discrimination against employees for collective activity, and employer failure to bargain in good faith with union representatives. Union unfair labor practices include failure to represent all members of the bargaining unit and failure to bargain in good faith, secondary boycotts. The NLRA and many state public sector labor laws contain definitions of unfair labor practices that are similar to the NLRA definitions.

Union Buster: A slang term for a professional consultant or consulting firm that provides valuable education and methods to employers and employees to prevent unionization or to decertify unions. Also, employees who first educate themselves then educate their fellow employees on the consequences of unionization. Often times these employees are accused by the union and its supporters of colluding with management or being supported by management. This is rarely the case.

Union Dues: Monthly payment by members to their unions. The amount is set by either the constitution or bylaws, and is subject to revision by the membership. Payments are based on fixed amounts or the individual member’s hourly rate. See also Becks Rights.

Union Security Clause: A provision in a collective bargaining agreement designed to protect the institutional life of the union, such as union shop and union dues check-off clauses. A deauthorization election removes this union security clause allowing employees to choose whether they want to remain members of the union and pay union dues. If a deauthorization election is successful, employees who do not wish to pay union dues may resign membership in the union, stop paying union dues and continue their employment. All other terms of the union contract remain in effect and non-members are still covered by the contract.

Union Shop: Form of union security provided in the collective bargaining agreement that requires employees to belong to or pay dues to the union as a condition of retaining employment. It is illegal to have a closed shop that requires workers to be union members before they are hired. The union shop is legal, except in so-called right-to-work states, because it requires workers to join the union or pay dues within a certain time period after they are hired.

Weingarten Rights: The rights of employees covered by the NLRA to request union representation during investigatory interviews if they reasonably believe that the interview could result in their being disciplined. Weingarten rights also guarantee the rights of union representatives to assist and counsel employees during interviews that could lead to discipline.