background image

Welcome to the CWA 1031 Organizing Department

Rene Garzon, Staff Representative / Organizer


Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other mutual aid or protection -National Labor Relations Act (NLRA, passed by Congress in 1935)


What is a union? A union is a group of workers who form an organization to gain:

How do people form a union? When workers decide they want to come together to improve their jobs, they work with a union to help them form their own local chapter. Once a majority of workers shows they want a union, sometimes employers honor the workers’ choice. Often, the workers must ask the government to hold an election. If the workers win their union, they negotiate a contract with the employer that spells out each party’s rights and responsibilities in the workplace.

Does the law protect workers joining unions? It’s supposed to—but too often it doesn’t. Under the law, employers are not allowed to discriminate against or fire workers for choosing to join a union. For example, it’s illegal for employers to threaten to shut down their businesses or to fire employees or take away benefits if workers form a union. However, employers routinely violate these laws, and the penalties are weak or nonexistent.

What kinds of workers are forming unions today? A wider range of people than ever before, including many women and immigrants, is joining unions—doctors and nurses, poultry workers and graduate employees, home health care aides and wireless communications workers, auto parts workers and engineers, to name a few.

How do unions help working families today? Through unions, workers win better wages, benefits and a voice on the job—and good union jobs mean stronger communities. Union workers earn 26 percent more than nonunion workers and are more likely to receive health care and pension benefits than those without a union. In 2002, median weekly earnings for full-time union wage and salary workers were $740, compared with $587 for their nonunion counterparts. Unions lead the fight today for better lives for working people, such as through expanded family and medical leave, improved safety and health protections and fair-trade agreements that lift the standard of living for workers all over the world.

What have unions accomplished for all workers? Unions have made life better for all working Americans by helping to pass laws ending child labor, establishing the eight-hour day, protecting workers’ safety and health and helping create Social Security, unemployment insurance and the minimum wage, for example. Unions are continuing the fight today to improve life for all working families in America.

What challenges do workers face today when they want to form unions? Today, thousands of workers want to join unions. The wisest employers understand that when workers form unions, their companies also benefit. But most employers fight workers’ efforts to come together by intimidating, harassing and threatening them. In response, workers are reaching out to their communities for help exercising their freedom to improve their lives.


Union Workers Have Greater Job Stability

Although nearly 50 percent of union workers have been with their current employers for at least 10 years, only 22 percent of nonunion workers can make the same claim. Union workers have greater job stability, in part because they're more satisfied with their jobs, receive better pay, have better benefits and have access to fair grievance procedures. Even more important, most collective bargaining agreements protect union members from unjust discharge. Nonunion workers are "employees at will" who can be fired at any time for any reason—or for no reason.

Percentage of Workers with the Same Employer
for 10 Years or More, 1998


Source: AFL-CIO analysis of the Current Population Survey, Supplement on Displaced Workers, Job Tenure and Occupational Mobility, February 1998.
Prepared by the AFL-CIO.


CWA is an honest democratic union. CWA believes that the strength of the union comes from unity. A great deal of effort and resources are put into education and outreach to insure that all members have input and important decisions.

CWA represents more than 700,000 men and women in both the private and public sectors of the economy – in telecommunications and information technology; media and publishing; health care, higher education, law enforcement and public service; in the airlines and in manufacturing. CWA members are covered by over 2,000 collective bargaining agreements.

CWA represents 36,000 New Jersey State employees in Administrative, Professional and Supervisory titles. This includes some 3,000 employees of New Jersey State Colleges and Universities. CWA represents 600 employees at UMDNJ.

We’ll help you create your organization

Experience tells us that it’s best when workers organize themselves if they are to create a viable union that truly represents their wishes. CWA will provide you and your co-workers with the support and guidance that you will need to build your own effective workplace organization. Talk with your co-workers and identify your key workplace issues. Then call CWA. We will set up a meeting with you and your co-workers.

Check out some recent CWA Organizing victories: Organizing Victories

For more information contact Rene Garzon, Organizer for CWA Local 1031 at or by calling our toll free number 888-292-1031.