What Does Signing a Union Card Mean?

October 30, 2023

When you sign a union card at work, you’re agreeing to become a member of a union, to abide by its rules, and to allow the organization to represent you in negotiations with your employer. You’re also agreeing to pay union membership dues. 

In return, you gain voting rights for in-person and online union elections, as well as benefits through the union. Many unions offer academic programs, healthcare and retirement benefits, legal assistance, and other types of support that you can take advantage of if you sign a union card.

Why Are Unions Important?

Unions negotiate with employers on behalf of their members and others in the profession to obtain better wages, benefits, and working conditions for everyone. This is known as ‘collective bargaining,’ and it’s a powerful tool for ensuring your workplace needs are met.

As your representative, unions have a duty to properly serve their members. You also have rights within the organization and should understand what the union rule for representation is. This rule refers to your right to nondiscriminatory representation made in good faith, which is crucial to the union’s function because it cannot accurately represent its members otherwise.

What Is a Union Card?

Members of a union are issued a card that demonstrates their commitment to the union. It is submitted to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) as evidence of membership rolls. Its main purpose is for you to confirm your interest in the organization and to authorize the union to represent you in negotiations with your employer.

Why Union Cards Are Important

Signing a union card is a way to show support for unionizing. When employees of a company start to organize, they need to submit a certain number of cards to demonstrate support for the change in the workplace–so, every signature counts. In fact, 30% of employees must submit a union card before they can file a petition to organize with the NLRB.

What Are the Implications of Signing a Card?

After enough cards are submitted to the NLRB, organizers host an election to see if a majority of employees want the company to become unionized. This is typically held at the workplace, making it easy for workers to attend. If enough people vote in favor, the employees are able to become part of the labor union.

How Can I Host Elections Online?

Once you’re in the union, you’ll find that you have a voice when it comes to how you’re represented in union elections. 

The plumbers’ union election process involves signing an election petition to become represented; this is true for other industry unions, too. Voting to join a union is an empowering act that shouldn’t be taken lightly, as it can greatly benefit you, your coworkers, and your family.

To make these elections run more smoothly, recommend ElectionBuddy to your union leadership. This online voting platform lets you text and email voters, and it’s even free for the first twenty people who vote in your elections. Try it today to see if online elections are a good fit for your union!

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