Labor Union Numbers and Their Role in Workers’ Rights

What is a Labor Union Number?

Unions are organizations of workers that band together to improve their wages, working conditions, and opportunities for advancement. They also play a strong role in national politics, usually on the side of Democrats.

The OLMS Office of Labor-Management Standards promotes voluntary compliance with the LMRDA by educating union officers and others about reporting requirements, disclosures, and safeguards. The Office also administers the Voluntary Compliance Partnership Program.

Number of Members

Labor unions are organized groups of workers that unite to make decisions about conditions affecting their work. They negotiate with employers to secure higher wages, benefits and safer workplaces. There are over 60 trade unions in the United States representing more than 14 million people. Many are members of one of the two large umbrella organizations: the AFL-CIO and the Strategic Organizing Center, which split from the AFL-CIO in 2005-2006.

In addition to negotiating with employers, unions often lobby at the state and federal level. They also participate in political campaigns, generally on the side of the Democratic party.

Many unions have safety clauses in their contracts that require workers to report any unsafe working conditions. These clauses help ensure the safety of employees and protect them from retaliation by their employers. They also ensure that workers who have been injured are returned to lighter, less strenuous work, known as light duty, when they return to work.

Number of Officers

Union officers are members of the organization who have executive authority and responsibility for policy making. They are elected at least every 3 years in local unions and every 4 years in intermediate bodies and national and international labor organizations. The constitution and bylaws of a labor organization may prescribe additional election requirements.

Every member in good standing has equal rights and privileges in nominating candidates, voting in union elections or referendums, attending and participating at membership meetings, and in deliberations at such meetings subject to reasonable rules and regulations contained in the constitution and bylaws of the organization.

The agency Labor Liaisons are employees, designated by their agencies’ directors, who are responsible for all labor issues and grievances at their respective agencies. See the Directory of Agency Directors, Labor Liaisons and Union Presidents for more information. The OLRCB handles 21 working conditions collective bargaining agreements for District agencies. Those agreements include Compensation Units 1 and 2. OLRCB is also responsible for all wage and hour enforcement matters under the District’s labor relations statute.

Number of Committees

A union may form a committee to organize its members into a bargaining unit. This committee consists of workers who are designated by the union to sign authorization cards, meet with co-workers and hand out leaflets in support of a representation campaign. If enough signatures are collected, the employer may recognize the union through a card check instead of an election.

Each member in good standing shall have the right to vote and the privilege of attending and participating in meetings of the labor organization, subject to reasonable rules and regulations in its constitution and bylaws. Elections shall be conducted fairly, including adequate safeguards to assure a free and impartial ballot.

The LMRDA also requires unions to file periodic reports with the Labor Management Relations Board and establishes standards for trusteeships and elections. If a member believes that the union has violated these provisions, he can file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor. The Secretary will investigate the complaint and, if appropriate, conduct a hearing.

Return to the home screen