How to Join or Form a Union

Union organizing victoryWorking people from all walks of life join together in unions to obtain a voice at work. Union members have a say about pay, benefits, working conditions and how their jobs get done.
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If you do not have a union at your job, find out more about how to form one. Today, more people are taking the step to form unions on the job than at any time in recent history. You can be one of them!

STEP ONE: Know Your Rights

 
Federal and state laws guarantee the right to form unions. Eligible employees have the right to express their views on unions, to talk with their co-workers about their interest in forming a union, to wear union buttons and to attend union meetings. (Supervisors and a few other types of employees customarily are excluded from coverage.)
Despite these laws, many employers strongly resist their employees’ efforts to gain a voice at work through unionization. So, before you start talking union where you work, get in touch with a union that will help you organize.

STEP TWO: Find Out Which Union Is Right for You

To form a union on the job, you need the backup and hands-on help from the union you are seeking to join. If you don’t already know which union is most able to help you, find out more about the unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO by visiting their websites. Many of these websites enable you to contact the right person there directly to help you form a union.
In communities across the country, the AFL-CIO has local and state councils where unions come together to work toward common goals. To find out about union activity in your community, contact us for more information. Staff members at these offices can put you in touch with a local union that is right for you.

STEP THREE: Find Out About Working America

If forming a union with your coworkers isn’t a real possibility for you, you can still be a part of the union movement by joining Working America, the AFL-CIO’s community affiliate for people who don’t have a union at work.

STEP FOUR: Get in Touch with a Union Organizer

Union organizers assist employees in forming unions on the job to give them the same opportunity for a say at work, good wages and decent working conditions.

Find Out Which Union Is Right for You

The AFL-CIO is a federation of labor unions that are building power for workers in their industry or sector. The list below can help you find which union to contact. 
Find links to our unions. If you are not sure which union to contact, we can help.

UNION

INDUSTRIES REPRESENTED

AFSCME State, county and municipal employees
AFT Teachers; higher education, education support staff; education paraprofessionals
AIR LINE PILOTS Airline pilots ( Membership application )
AMALGAMATED TRANSIT
UNION
Metropolitan, interstate and school bus drivers; paratransit, light rail, subway, streetcar and ferry boat operators; mechanics and other maintenance workers; clerks, baggage handlers, municipal employees
BAKERY, CONFECTIONERY,
TOBACCO WORKERS AND
GRAIN MILLERS
Manufacturing/production; maintenance and sanitation in the bakery, confectionery, tobacco and grain milling industries in North America 
BOILERMAKERS Construction, shipbuilding, railroad, manufacturing and mining industries throughout the United States and Canada
Contact: https://www.boilermakers.org/organize 
BRICKLAYERS Craftworkers in the trowel trades across the United States and Canada, including bricklayers, stone and marble masons, cement masons, plasterers, tilesetters, terrazzo and mosaic workers, and pointers, cleaners and caulkers
Contact: snelms@bacweb.org; 202-383-3210 
COMMUNICATIONS
WORKERS OF AMERICA 
Telecommunications; broadcasting; cable TV; journalism; publishing; manufacturing; airlines; customer service
ELECTRICAL WORKERS Utilities; construction; telecommunications; broadcasting; manufacturing; railroads
Contact: troyjohnson@ibew.org; 202-728-6280 
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION 
OF SHEET METAL, AIR, RAIL AND TRANSPORTATION WORKERS
Sheet metal workers in the construction, manufacturing, service, railroad and shipyard industries; railway workers
Contact: richardrossutu@msn.com; 708-446-6299
Contact: jwhite@smart-union.org; 717-579-3480 
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF PROFESSIONAL AND
TECHNICAL ENGINEERS 
Professional, technical, administrative and associated occupations in the private and public sectors
Contact: clangford@ifpte.org; 202-239-4880 
IRONWORKERS Ironworkers in building, bridge and industrial structures
Contact: dgornewicz@iwintl.org; 202-383-4817 
LABORERS Building and construction trades workers
MACHINISTS Aerospace; transportation
Contact: gmyers@iamaw.org; 301-967-4750 
NABET/CWA Broadcasting, telecasting, recording, cable, video and sound recording
NATIONAL NURSES UNITED Nursing and health care
Contact: organizing@nationalnursesunited.org
NATIONAL TAXI WORKERS
ALLIANCE 
Taxi industry in New York City and other areas
OPERATING ENGINEERS Operating engineers—heavy equipment operators, mechanics and surveyors in the construction industry—and stationary engineers in maintenance and operations in building, industrial and service complexes
PLUMBERS AND
PIPEFITTERS 
Workers in the fabrication, installation and servicing of piping systems
THEATRICAL STAGE EMPLOYEES Theatrical stage employees, including animation, motion picture and television production, stagehands, ticket sellers and animation
Contact: ditolla@iatse-intl.com; 212-730-1770 
TRANSPORT WORKERS Railroad; gaming; airline; transit; utility, university
UAW Auto, aerospace and agricultural workers, graduate teaching assistants, writers
UNITE HERE Hotel; motel; gaming; food service; manufacturing; textile; laundry; airport
Contact: ccarrera@unitehere.org 
UNITED FOOD AND
COMMERCIAL WORKERS 
Grocery; retail; wholesale and department store workers; food and food processing; service, manufacturing and warehousing industries; chemical industry; poultry workers; marijuana and hemp workers
Contact: estewart@ufcw.org; 202-466-1506 
UNITED STEELWORKERS Steel; glass and metal; oil refineries; chemical plants; pharmaceutical; rubber; paper; energy-saving wind turbines
UNITED UNION OF ROOFERS AND WATERPROOFERS Roofers; waterproofers
Contact: gigr@unionroofers.com; 740-649-6578 
UTILITY WORKERS Workers in electric, gas, water and nuclear industries across the United States
Contact: bobhouser@uwua.net; 888-843-8982 
WRITER’S GUILD OF
AMERICA, EAST
Writers living east of the Mississippi River
Contact: organizing@wgaeast.org; 212-767-7808