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During a card signing campaign or before a union election, a union might promise you virtually anything. Higher wages, better benefits, job security, promotions, whatever it takes to get you to vote for it. But, in reality, those are empty promises too. Why? Because a union can’t guarantee any of those promises. The union has no power whatsoever to do so. And since a union can’t guarantee what a company is willing to agree to, it’s free to make all the empty promises it wants.
A company, on the other hand, cannot make any promises during any part of a union campaign. The National Labor Relations Board says there can be no “Promising or granting promotions, pay raises, or other benefits to influence an employee’s vote by a party capable of carrying out such promises.” Why is this the law? Because the company, unlike the union, is the only one that does have the power to deliver on promises.
Unfortunately, it is usually not until the election is over and negotiations begin that the truth about a union’s empty promises is revealed.
You may be told you’ll get better pay and better benefits. You may be told those changes will go into effect immediately. And you may be told you have everything to gain and absolutely nothing to lose. The truth is this, everything is negotiable. Nothing happens overnight. Your existing hours of work, your wages, your benefits and your work rules are all subject to change. The law is very clear about this: You could end up with less, you could end up with what you have now, or you could end up with more.
Also, an election doesn’t mean things change immediately. Negotiators normally don’t meet every day or even every week. On average, if an agreement is ever reached, it takes months, sometimes even a year or more for a union to attempt to negotiate a first-time contract after an election takes place. As a matter of fact, only 56%of the time are unions successful in reaching a first contract.