UNION-YESAFT Michigan is very active working with employees throughout Michigan who want to organize a union.

We believe that every employee needs a union and that our state federation is stronger with a larger, informed and mobilized membership.

If you are interested in organizing with AFT Michigan call us at 313-393-2200.

We will tell you more about us and you can tell us more about your work situation. Jointly we will decide how best to proceed.

Organize a Union with AFT Michigan

Are you ready to organize with AFT Michigan to improve your working conditions? Unsure what is involved in such a decision? Below are frequently asked questions about organizing with AFT. You may also contact AFT Michigan with your questions at 313-393-2200.

Q. Who can form a union?

A. A broad definition of a union is a group of employees who come together voluntarily with the shared goal of improving their working conditions and having a voice at their place of employment. Under this broad definition, the answer to who can form a union is: anyone who is an employee. The ability to form unions, however, is generally governed by state and national laws, executive orders and labor board regulations. Labor boards serve as the usual authority in the administration of labor laws and set up regulations to decide questions of union representation rights.

Q. Why organize with the AFT? Isn’t it just a teachers union?

A. The AFT began as a teachers union in 1916; however, in the mid-1960s the union began organizing other professionals as well. Today the AFT represents PreK-12 teachers and support staff, instructors and staff at community colleges and universities, public employees and health care workers.

Q. Does AFT Michigan organize charter school teachers and staff?

A. Yes! AFT Michigan organizes charter school teachers and staff. Learn more about organizing your charter school by calling 313 393 2200 or emailing Nate Walker at nwalker@aftmichigan.org

Q. How do we get started with the AFT?

A. There are a number of steps a group might take to get a union started. The first step might be to call AFT Michigan at 313-393-2200.

    • Forming a union: First, your group needs to determine a core group of people who are committed to organizing workers to act collectively to improve their conditions of employment. This working group or “organizing committee” will be responsible for building a structure for the organization and providing leadership for a larger group of activists who will urge colleagues to make a commitment to forming the union.

Q. How do we gain union recognition?

A. The union launches a card drive to collect authorization cards signed by a requisite number of employees to bring about an election. While this requisite number is often 30 percent or lower, it only makes sense to go to an election with an overwhelming 75 or 80 percent of employees signed up on authorization cards. A majority of those voting is needed to win union recognition.

Q. How does the collective bargaining process work?

A. Collective bargaining is a formal process that gives employees a voice in workplace decisions that affect their job and profession. It gives workers a special relationship with their employer in determining salary, benefits, hours and working conditions. More importantly, the collective bargaining process results in a contract that puts the negotiated agreement in writing. The terms of this agreement are then binding on both the employer and the union. Such an agreement protects employees from arbitrary treatment, and disagreements over the interpretation of the agreement may be taken to a third party arbitrator to resolve differences.

Like a “Bill of Rights,” your contract serves as a written guarantee of your rights and duties. Neither the bargaining team nor the employer can change any part of your contract without renegotiating.

With a collectively bargained contract, you will always know what is expected of you and what you can expect in return. Your contract will eliminate much of the uncertainty associated with salary, transfer, job security and other issues. It will also protect you from unfair treatment.

Q. What am I waiting for?

A. We don’t know! Call us at 313-393-2200.