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What Is the Union Rule of Representation?

November 3, 2023

Picture this: you’re at work and are handed a card that you’re asked to sign. All you know is that it has to do with a union, but what does signing a union card mean?

This card is how you support the union at your workplace. It’s granting the organization consent to represent you in labor negotiations while also demonstrating your commitment to pay dues and follow union voting election rules

When you join a labor union, you may wonder what their responsibilities are to you and other members. Today, we’ll explore this concern, as well as a new way to conduct online union elections!

What Labor Unions Do

Labor unions are involved in many activities. You’re probably most familiar with collective bargaining, which is the process of negotiating for better wages, benefits, hours, and working conditions. 

Your union representative will interact with your employer and government agencies to make sure the needs of employees are addressed. They make sure your employer is holding up their end of any contracts they signed, too.

Unions also keep members in the loop about changes to labor laws. These laws can dramatically impact work life, so it’s important to stay on top of new developments. As your union hears about issues and topics that can impact members, they pass this information on to those they represent.

Many times, labor unions sponsor opportunities that can help advance your career. These include skills training and educational experiences that can make you eligible for higher-paying jobs.

Rule of Representation Explained

Labor unions don’t just have a responsibility to their members–they speak to and negotiate with union companies on behalf of all of those who work in the trade or profession they represent. They must act in good faith and provide nondiscriminatory representation.

A union keeps its mission at the forefront of every action it takes, including collective bargaining, complaint resolution, and running elections. The National Labor Relations Board (a federal agency that protects the rights of private-sector employees) mandates that unions must also handle grievances, even if those involved have issues with union leadership or aren’t part of the organization.

Why Is This Rule Important?

The rule of representation ensures that the union works for everyone and is not selective in who it advocates for. Without this rule, the union could pick and choose the employees it wants to represent, and this could result in the needs of the group not being met.

Are There Exceptions to the Rule?

There are situations, such as when an employee can handle an issue on their own (e.g., filing a worker’s compensation claim), where the rule of representation doesn’t apply. It also doesn’t apply to disciplinary actions a union may take against a member for violating their rules.

Labor Union Elections

While in a union, you will have an opportunity to vote in elections. This will give you a chance to choose who will represent you at the board level and to make sure your voice is heard on issues that relate to the workplace. As a member, unions play an essential role in your career and the viability of your trade or profession. They fight for your rights, needs, and demands.

If your union leaders aren’t using ElectionBuddy for online union elections already, be sure to recommend it to them. This secure online voting software is free for up to twenty voters! ElectionBuddy makes it easy for people to vote virtually, which helps increase overall member participation in elections.

Join 11,984+ organizations like yours that use ElectionBuddy to build more easy online elections

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