How does a Union Work?

A union is a democratic organization of workers. The basic idea of a union is that by joining together with co-workers to form a union, you have a greater ability through strength in numbers to improve conditions at your worksite. In other words, “In unity there is strength”.
“The primary purpose of the union is to improve the wellbeing of working class people. We represent workers in their employment and collectively negotiate a contract that improves wages, benefits and working conditions and shields workers from unfair treatment.
Officers are nominated and elected from among the members of a local union. Any member who meets the qualifications for office may be nominated and elected to office within a local union. All our officers are electrical workers. They come from our ranks, workers, right off the tools, like the rest of us.
Who Runs The Union? ( YOU Do!
YOU Elect your own local union officers.
YOU Run your own local affairs.
YOU Have your own negotiating committee.
YOU Make the decisions on your own union contract.
YOU Have your own shop stewards.
YOU Decide important policies and actions of your own union by majority vote.
YOU Elect your international union officers.
YOU Elect your own delegate’s to the international conventions.
YOU – The Membership – are the final voice of authority and decision in your union.
Our union exists for “the good of the members”
Our union, the IBEW, accomplishes as a Brotherhood,
what we cannot accomplish as individuals.

Page 2 of 2 How Unions Work draft 4Goals and Objectives of the IBEW Constitution

• To organize all workers in the entire electrical industry in the United States and Canada, including all those in public utilities and electrical manufacturing, into local unions, • To promote reasonable methods of work, • To cultivate feelings of friendship among those of our industry, • To settle all disputes between employers and the employees by arbitration, • To assist each other in sickness or distress,  • To secure employment, • To reduce the hours of daily labour • To secure adequate pay for our work, • To seek a higher and higher standard of living, • To seek security for the individual, • And by the legal and proper means to elevate the moral, intellectual and the social conditions of our members, their families and dependants, in the interest of a higher standard of citizenship.

You Are The Union

The international Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is made up of other electricians just like you. By working together, union members achieve workplace rights and lobby for laws that improve their lives; at work, at play, and in the community.