What Do Unions Do?

What do unions do?

Unions are able to harness the power of the working class to focus the energy on strategic improvements to working conditions. Workers seek unionization as a group to ensure that their collective power is able to withstand the overwhelming power of employers, causing a fair balance within the workplace.

Unions are still ensuring that workplaces are improved as they evolve, and the lives of Albertan’s change. Unions are able to create a specific set of laws in a workplace called a collective agreement, that will ensure employees are treated with the respect that they deserve, all while employers remain profitable and productive enough to share those returns with the employees that keep the business running. Unions have been successful in improving wages, benefits, pensions, and safer workplaces for over a century.

Workers have been seeking unionization more now than ever to improve their workplaces. The Alberta Federation of Labour makes the process simple for anyone interested in joining a union or getting more information on how to join one.

Values of a Union

Unions across the province are dedicated to getting fair working conditions and pay to the hardworking employees of Alberta. Unions are able to achieve better working conditions by  negotiating as a group and to repair the power imbalance of negotiating as an individual. In turn, this provides better jobs in Alberta rather than just more jobs.

How to Join a Union

1. Get in contact with us!

We will get some information on what industry you work in, some of the improvements you are seeking, and explain the full process of unionizing.

You can contact us confidentially at 1-800-661-3995 or 780-483-3021. You can also reach us online at afl@afl.org.

2. We Will Provide the Proper Union for You!

Instead of spending hours online or on the phone finding the best union for your workplace, we have narrowed down the list of unions who are actively organizing new worksites, and that know your specific industry well.

3. Start Signing Union Cards or Petitions

Once you have selected the best union for your workplace, you will be required to sign union cards or petitions to show the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) you are interested in having a union. The ALRB is a government organization that works on behalf of the labour relations community to enforce the laws around unionized worksites.

4. Make an Application

Your union will work with you and your co-workers on the legal process and make an application to the ALRB once there is the required support needed for an application. Each of our affiliates have specialized in the process of making an application and can ensure that your application will be accepted by the Labour Relations Board.

5. Vote

The Alberta Labour Relations Board will conduct a vote if there is sufficient support. Your employer will not know who has signed for support and is not legally allowed to interfere with the process at any time. A simple majority (50%+1) of your co-workers who choose to vote will be required to successfully certify your workplace.

6. Start Negotiating

Once a majority of workers vote for the union, you will become unionized. It is now time to start creating your proposals of items that you would like to see improved such as:

  • A fair living wage
  • Improved benefit packages for you and your family
  • Respect at the workplace
  • Health and Safety
  • Transparency

Under Alberta Law the workplace will immediately go into a “freeze period” which allows employees to negotiate better terms and conditions from the ones that they already benefit from. Employers are not allowed to remove anything that you are already entitled to when negotiating with your committee.