In addition to your right to seek union representation under the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), the National Labor Relations Act includes a “Bill of Rights of Members of Labor Organizations.” We believe that these rights are not only critical to protect union members but also because the exercise of these rights by the membership makes your union stronger. The LMRDA protects your right to:
Equal rights and privileges to nominate candidates, to vote in elections, to attend union meetings and vote on the business of the meeting.
When the IATSE organizes workers and executes a contract on their behalf, whether they are given a new local union charter or admitted into membership in existing local unions those workers are admitted as full journeyperson members with all of the rights and responsibilities of all other members.
Freedom of speech and assembly.
Our organizing policy is to promote the most open and robust debate possible. That is what gets you the best deal. We encourage workers to participate in our organizing and bargaining committees, to draft proposals and set goals for their contract and participate in all negotiation sessions. We also encourage you to discuss and debate among yourselves so that the contract best reflects your priorities.
The right to a secret ballot vote on rates of dues, initiation fees and assessments.
International dues are currently $48.00 per quarter. They are voted on every four years at our convention. When chartering a new local for workers in a geographic area or craft that is currently unrepresented those workers determine what their local union dues and initiation fees will be. Workers being organized into existing local unions pay the same local dues as the other members. However, it the IATSE policy to waive initiation fees for newly organized workers when their contract is signed. In either case, no worker pays any dues to the International or a local union until a contract has been ratified by a majority of the employees in a secret ballot vote.
The right to due process in union disciplinary procedures.
Most employers focus on the issue of “union discipline” in order to scare their employees away from organizing. What they consistently fail to mention is that while the unions protect their members’ right to a fair hearing the employers deny that same right to their employees at work. The IATSE Constitution and By-Laws requires strict adherence to procedural fairness in order to protect members from unwarranted discipline by local unions.
The right to receive a copy of your contract and to inspect copies of all contracts that your local union administers.
We not only share our contracts with workers who are seeking to organize their workplace but we expect them to participate with us in drafting and negotiating their own contract.
The strongest unions are ones whose members are most engaged and active in all functions of the organization. The IATSE promotes that engagement from the very beginning of every one of our organizing campaigns so, when we achieve a contract, the workers own the union.
The right to institute legal action in any court if you disagree with the union’s decision and if internal appeals don’t satisfy you.
Once internal union remedies have been exhausted union members have the right to take their grievances to court whether they are suing the union or another party. It is the member’s right and responsibility to demand accountability from their union and its leadership. The strongest union is the one whose officers are most accountable to its members.