What’s on a “union authorization card?”
Here’s an example of one typically used by Teamsters.
As you’ll see, it asks for:
- Personal information and home address – so that union organizers can stop by your house to get more information about the company, your coworkers – and maybe get your help to coerce other employee-partners to sign.
- “I hereby authorize ” – nowhere on the card does it request a secret-ballot election. Instead, a union card is worded so that anyone who signs it is automatically authorizing the union as his or her legal representative.
- Date – union cards are typically in effect for at least one year after signing.
- Signature – once you sign a card, it can be difficult – if not impossible – to get it back if you change you mind.
What an authorization card won’t show you is some of the fine print in the union’s constitution, to which you are bound upon signing the card. For example, here are some excerpts from the Teamsters’ Constitution of the rules and bylaws controlling every member:
- “Decisions and penalties imposed upon individual members . . . found guilty of charges may consist of reprimands, fines, suspensions, expulsions, revocations, denial to hold any office . . .” (page 150)
- “Per capita tax shall be paid on all delinquent dues and/or reinitiation fees collected". (page 82)
- “Dues shall be adjusted whenever an increase in hourly earnings . . .” (page 78)
- “ . . . the negotiating committee, with the approval of the General Executive Board, may order the resumption of such strike without a vote.” (page 99)
- “No member of a Local Union on strike shall be entitled to weekly benefits unless he reports to the proper officers of the Local Union . . .” (page 107)
- “Any member refusing to work for an employer considered fair, while on strike, shall be debarred from all benefits.” (page 107)
- “Any member who knowingly goes to work or remains in the employment of any person, firm, or corporation, whose employees are on strike or locked out . . . may be tried by the Executive Board of his Local Union.” (page 149)
- “. . . penalty for violating this Section shall be a fine equal to wages earned while working in violation of this Section.” (page 150)
- A member . . . charged by any other member of the Local Union with any offense constituting a violation of this Constitution shall, unless otherwise provided in this Constitution, be tried by the Local Union Executive Board.” (page 135)
- “Thereupon, the accused shall be required to stand trial at the time and place designated, which shall not be less than ten (10) days from the date the charges are served upon the accused.” (page 137)
- “A member of one Local Union shall have a right to file charges against a member of another Local Union.” (page 137)