Frequently Asked Questions
Click on the questions below to find out the answer.
How does the union function? Who runs the union? Are leaders elected or appointed?
Your union will be run by and for the employees. It will be a democratic organization.
You will have your own local union at your facility or under an existing local union. You will most likely open an office near the facility, but decisions like this will be decided on and voted on by your local union membership. Most unions do not allow this sort of identity.
Officers of the local, and representatives from every shift will be elected by members throughout the entire facility. Each shift will elect representatives (called stewards) to assist with the day-to-day issues that may arise. Again, Most unions do not allow this sort of structure.
There will also be committees on which employees can serve, including:
- Negotiating committee to represent the group during the bargaining process.
- Communications committee to publish a regular newsletter, bulletin boards announcement, ect.
- Community service committee to help co-sponsor community events, set up volunteer networks to help needy citizens and raise money for charities.
- Health and Safety committee to monitor conditions at the facility and work on solutions to any health or safety problems.
- Worker's compensation committee that helps employees file their claims and get proper care of their injuries.
- Organizing Committee to help other un-represented security, police professionals form their own SPFPA local union.
Most unions meet regularly with management, handling problems meeting with joint labor-management committees, discussing operational issues, ect. The basic idea is that the union creates an equal relationship between employees and management.
Is the Union a third party?
The Union is not a third party. It is an organization run by and for the employees with assistance from the SPFPA International Union.
The SPFPA has a strong record of negotiating outstanding wages, benefits and working conditions. The SPFPA will provide experience negotiators, contract technicians, and legal assistance to your elected negotiating committee. SPFPA has over 60 years Experience in dealing with these matters.
The SPFPA will also provide training for your elected officers and stewards.
A Union is what employees make of it. Its effectiveness is based on competent representation of employees and running a responsible organization.
Why is management starting its scare tactics to keep you from having Union representation?
Management has the right to campaign against the union, but we believe they also know the SPFPA is a good union with a record of helping thousands of Security, Police Professionals improve their work lives. The fact is that management doesn’t want to share their power with you. Presently management holds all the cards.
With a union, management cannot impose unilateral (One-Way) decisions about your wages, benefits and working conditions. With a union, it is a two –way street. The balancing of power is Equal with a Union!
That’s the real reason, we think, they don’t want you to be unionized.
What will be in our first union contract?
The newly created local union will elect a negotiating committee with employee representatives from all work areas and shifts to negotiate a contract.
When a union committee sits down to bargain a contract with management, negotiations start from whatever conditions exist at that time, they will propose positive changes to the current conditions. This means Better Wages, Better Benefits, Better Working Conditions and Job Security.
Before negotiations begin, the committee will develop proposals in consultation with all employees. Everyone’s input will be allowed through meetings and surveys.
The committee will be trained and assisted by professional SPFPA negotiators, and you will have SPFPA attorneys to assist you as well.
The law states management must bargain in good faith over Wages, Benefits, Working Conditions and Job Security, which are mandatory subjects of bargaining. Areas that need improvement become the focus of negotiations with your employer. The items that employees are satisfied with are secured in a union contract.
You do not pay any dues throughout the election and/or negotiation process. You begin paying dues only after the contract has been negotiated
What does the SPFPA know about security?
The SPFPA is the oldest and largest union of Security, Police and fire protection officers in the U.S. today with over 57 years experience in representing officers like yourself. SPFPA and our legal attorneys are experienced in negotiating under the “Service Contract Act” as well as Enclaves with Federal Provisions in right to work states
Does the SPFPA belong to the AFL-CIO?
No. Under Section 9(b) 3 of the National Labor Relations Act, the law clearly states a labor organization is prohibited from being certified by the NLRB if, in fact, the labor organization seeking to represent such guards, admits non-guards into its membership and/or is affiliated directly or indirectly with a AFL-CIO Union. Because of this law the SPFPA is prohibited from belonging to the AFL-CIO. However we have a great working relationship and much support from many AFL-CIO Unions including the United Steel Workers of America (USWA) AFL-CIO, CLC, the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers, (IAM) The SEIU, United Auto Workers, Carpenters, HERE and Teamsters just to name a few.
Membership dues (Which our members call Job Security) How much are they? When do we begin paying?
As in any nonprofit organization, dues are used to pay the operating expenses. In the Union, that includes office space, representatives’ salaries, printing, phones, travel, arbitrations, legal costs, training programs, meeting rooms, negotiations etc.
- NO INITIATION FEE FOR NEWLY ORGANIZED MEMBERS LIKE YOURSELVES. This Fee has been Waived.
- NO ONE PAYS DUES UNTIL AFTER A LABOR CONTRACT HAS BEEN NEGOTIATED.
Dues are paid based on the amount you make. There is no set monthly rate. Dues are two and a half times your hourly rate each month. Out of the two and a half times hourly rate each month, one hour is given back to your local union to operate.
Even if you sign a SPFPA membership card and/or vote yes for union representation, it does not mean you will start paying dues.
You will be able to see the increases and benefits a Union contract brings before you pay any dues.
IN ALMOST ALL CASES, WHAT YOU ACHIEVE IN YOUR FIRST UNION CONTRACT IN REGARDS TO WAGES, BENEFITS AND JOB SECURITY FAR EXCEEDS YOUR MONTHLY DUES.
Why Workers Organize?
In a perfect world your employer would provide you with decent wages, good benefits, a safe place to work, and treat you with respect. Unfortunately, most do not.
- In the United States workers organized Unions to protect one another by Bargaining Collectively to establish rules of conduct, wages and benefits.To protect themselves from employers who have taken advantage of them.
- Workers organize over some very basic issues.
- Company polices are not clear and understandable.
- When Supervisors are inconsistent in regards to non-discriminatory work practices.
- When workers are unclear in respect to work schedules, time-off, work assignments, pay cuts, or any other changes.
- When Supervisors lack fair, consistent and tactful disciplinary procedures.
- When supervisors and owners mistreat workers.
- Disrespectful, discourteous, and inconsiderate treatment.
- The inability of the Company to listen when workers speak.
- The unwillingness of the Company to address work place problems.
- Unwillingness of supervisors to represent workers when they are right.
- Lack of sympathy for workers personal problems.
- Lack of supervisory training.
- Poor working Conditions.
- Unresolved Grievances.
- A lack of respect, dignity and work place justice.
- Low Wages, Poor Benefits and Poor Retirement Plans
What are the Benefits of Joining a Union Like the SPFPA?
There are many benefits on why you should belong to a Union.
- Unionized Workers Earn More
- According to the U.S. Department of Labor unionized workers earn 28% more then nonunion workers.
- Unionized women earn 31% more than nonunion women.
- Unionized African Americans earn 37% more than nonunion African American workers.
- And Unionized Latin American Workers earn 55% more than nonunion Latin American Workers. Unions Increase Productivity
- According to most recent studies. The voice that union members have on the job:
Sharing in decision making about promotions and work production standards Increases productivity and improves management practices. Better training, lower turnover and longer tenure also make union workers more productive.
Union Workers Stay Longer. Nearly 50 percent of union workers have been with their current employers for at least 10 years, only 22 percent of nonunion workers can make the same claim. Union workers have greater job stability, in part because they're more satisfied with their jobs, receive better pay, have better benefits and have access to fair grievance procedures. Even more important, most collective bargaining agreements protect union members from unjust discharge. Nonunion workers are “employees at will” who can be fired at any time for any reason-or for no reason.
What Lies Will You Hear from Management?
The lies consultants will use are often as predictable as their techniques. You'll hear that the union is bound to strike and that you will be forced to go out.
You'll hear that you will be required to pay enormous amounts of dues and that corrupt union bosses will steal your dues money. You'll hear that the union will be run by a bunch of outsiders who just want to come in and take over the workplace.
And you'll hear that the union cant guarantee you anything and that you may even lose wages and benefits.
None of the above statements are true, but they can be pretty frightening, if you and your co-workers do not have the right answers ready.
For all their money and their lies, the consultants and lawyers can be beaten- labor unions all over the country have been successful at countering their efforts and winning thousands of union election campaigns.
The key to winning is to be prepared and that means letting every worker know what is going on behind the scenes and who is directing the anti-union campaign.