Contract FAQs

After we win the secret ballot election, does my employer have to negotiate with us?

Federal Law requires that employers negotiate in “good faith”. While some employers try to circumvent the law any way they can, the Machinists Union has a remarkably good record of successfully helping employees achieve a first contract.

What is a union contract?

A union contract is a legal document that is binding by law. It is negotiated with the employer and provides for, among other things, wages, benefits, hours and general working conditions.

Who draws up our contract?

You do with assistance from skilled, trained, professional Union negotiators. All employees in the bargaining unit contribute their ideas for the proposals. Areas where there is usually room for improvement include, but are not limited to:

  • Wages and inflation protection
  • Employer-paid health insurance for employees and their dependents
  • Effective grievance procedures
  • Job security
  • Seniority provisions
  • Additional paid holidays
  • Paid sick leave
  • Improved vacations
  • Work rules that spell out your rights on the job
Is it possible to have our insurance paid completely by the employer and cover our dependents, too?

YES! Most union contracts include fully- paid insurance for employees AND dependents.

Is there any limit as to what we can ask for in regard to wages and/or benefits?

No. Keep in mind, however, that what you ask for should be reasonable and justified.

Who will do the negotiating?

The employer and his designated representative on one side of the table. On the other, a negotiating committee elected by you, together with your local union representative(s) and your International Representative.

Do we have to accept what has been negotiated?

NO! If you do not feel you have gained enough in negotiations, you have the right to vote to reject the contract offer.

If we vote to form a union, can the employer cut our wages or reduce the few benefits we now receive?

NO! That would violate Federal Law! Therefore, you will negotiate UP from current wages and benefits.

If there is no union, what will the policy of the employer be as to wages, working conditions and fringe benefits?

Without a union, you are at the mercy of your employer to decide wages, benefits and working conditions. Just think how much farther ahead you would be now if you had a union contract to cover you for the past year. Vote YES.

What if some union goes on strike elsewhere? What happens to us?

Nothing. You would continue to work. You would not go out on a strike in support of another union and you would not be assessed, either.