FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is it legal for me to join the union? Yes!
  2. Is it legal for me to talk about the union at work? Yes!
  3. Can I get in trouble for joining the union? Nope!
  4. Are dues a waste of money? Nope!
  5. Are unions useless in a Right-To-Work state like Kentucky? Nope!
  6. Do unions always side with the Democratic Party? Nope!
  7. Will the union force me to go on strike? Nope!
  8. Are unions unnecessarily hostile to employers? Nope!

1. Is it legal for me to join the union?

Yes! You have Constitutional Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Association protections, which give you the right to join a labor union and organize collectively to seek improvement of the terms and conditions of your employment.

2. Is it legal for me to talk about the union at work?

Yes! Political activities such as picketing, rallies, and leafleting on your lunch break or after work are constitutionally protected forms of expression and free association. Generally, if you can talk about sports games or sell girl scout cookies at work, you can invite your coworkers to join the union.

3. Can I get in trouble for joining the union?

Nope! It is illegal for the administration to retaliate against you for exercising your constitutional right to join the union and engage in union activities. United Campus Workers has been organizing at colleges and universities in the southeast for 18 years, and, to date, no union members have been fired for organizing. Membership information is kept private, and dues are collected directly by UCW so our employers never know who signs up. Still, if any UCW member ever does suffer from any kind of retaliation, they will be defended by the union legally. More importantly, we are protected when we stand together. An injury to one is an injury to all. Right now, supervisors and administrators are able to harass workers individually. As a union, we can stand up for ourselves and put a stop to unfair treatment.

4. Are dues a waste of money?

Nope! We all pay dues so that we can have the resources for organizers, lawyers, researchers, and everything else we need to win change. Dues are on a sliding scale starting at $15 per month for full-time campus workers or $8 per month for part-time and graduate workers. The dues go to a bank account that we, the workers and members and of UCW Kentucky, control. The university has a lot of money. We need our own resources to be able to win improvements to pay, healthcare, safety, and other issues.

5. Are unions useless in a Right-to-Work state like Kentucky?

Nope! Right-to-Work (RTW) simply means that no worker can be required to join a union to hold their job. No one is requiring you to join a union - we’re inviting you! Our sister UCW-CWA organizations in other RTW states (like Georgia and Tennessee) have already been effective in winning pay raises, creating more affordable parking options, and stopping the privatization of facilities services workers.

6. Do unions always side with the Democratic Party?

Nope! Neither UCW nor our national parent union (CWA) is affiliated with either party. Though more union members vote Democratic than do non-union workers, about 30 percent of union members identify as Republicans. Some unions conduct dual endorsements in elections, choosing both a Republican and a Democrat. But most importantly, our local union follows democratic processes that allow us to decide how to engage in national, state, and local politics.

7. Will the union force me to go on strike?

Nope! Strikes are very rare - they are always the last resort to fight for fair working conditions as well as for the students and communities we serve. In fact, Kentucky law currently prohibits state workers from striking. However, the only reason that strikes are legal in other states and industries is because at some point unionized workers won that right by courageously striking illegally. But we get to choose if we strike, because we are the union! UCW-CWA does what our members want to do. In order for us to go on strike, a majority of us (the members of the United Campus Workers Kentucky) would have to vote to approve strike action. We would only vote to approve a strike if we had a clear plan (with a high probability of success) to improve our working conditions and our students’ learning conditions.

8. Are unions unnecessarily hostile to employers?

Nope! The union is independent from university administrations, which allows us to advocate for ourselves honestly and directly, but there is nothing that states that we cannot work cooperatively with administrators to achieve a better work environment for workers and better learning conditions for students.