What Will My Employer Say?

Employers commonly use scare tactics to try to stop workers from exercising their legal rights to form a union. Hiring anti-union consultants, holding special mandatory meetings, sending letters to your home, may all be part of your employer’s campaign to stop you from having more power on the job. The key is to stay focused on the reasons why you wanted a union in the first place and not let scare tactics keep you from victory.

Common Scare Tactics

Common Sense



 “You’ll have to pay dues and fees you can’t afford.”

  • Improvements of wages and benefits you win in a union contract will more than offset the dues you’ll pay.
  • No one pays any dues until after your union contract is negotiated, voted on and approved by you. You get to see the results first before paying any dues.
  • Most local unions have a one time initiation fee which is waived for newly organized groups.
  • There are no “hidden costs”. Any changes to the union’s dues structure must be voted on and approved by the members of the union. 

 “The union will make you go on strike and you’ll lose everything.”

  • OPEIU negotiates 98% of its contracts without ever going on strike. Strikes, in fact, are rare.
  • Only workers themselves can decide to strike by a majority vote at your workplace. Union leaders or workers elsewhere can’t make that decision.
  • OPEIU has a multi-million dollar fund that helps workers in the rare event of a strike.

“You’ll have to follow strict union rules.”

  • The only union “rules” are the guarantees and protections of your union contract that get negotiated by you, with help from union staff, and your employer.

“You can lose the wages and benefits you have now and start from scratch.”

  • Once you have a union, your current wages and benefits are protected and locked in until you negotiate something different.
  • It would be illegal for your employer to make changes to any wages and benefits you currently enjoy in order to retaliate against supporting a union.
  • You will decide what to ask for in your contract and whether to accept what’s offered to you. No one can “trade away” or reduce what you currently have without your approval.

“Union supporters will lose their jobs.”

  • The law protects workers in their efforts to form a union. OPEIU would aggressively defend the rights of any worker who as punished for union activity.
  • Federal law protects your rights but the best defense is staying unified with your co-workers. It’s true, there’s power in numbers.

“We don’t have to agree to a union contract.”

  • Once you receive official union recognition through an election or other means, your employer is legally obligated to negotiate with you in good faith to reach agreement.
  • Employers talk tough in order to create a sense of futility so you’ll give up. But, in reality, once you have a union, it's to your employer’s benefit to keep the work flowing and not fuel disruption.

“Just give us another chance.”

  • If your employer is really willing to make changes, he/she won’t be afraid to put those promises in a legally-binding written contract.
  • If you’ve gotten your employer to commit to changes just talking union, just think of the progress made when you win your election and make it “official”.