September 21, 2023

Organizing Your Workplace - YOU are the “U” in Union

Webster’s Dictionary describes a union as “an act or instance of uniting or joining two or more things into one.” In brief, that is what a labor union is, a group of like-minded people with the same goal in mind, acting in solidarity.


The first unions go back to the 1700s in Britain, as craftsmen banded together to improve the conditions of their employment. In the late 1800s, the labor movement was founded in the United States as immigrant workers faced the same issues in the United States their forefathers had faced in Britain. During the Industrial Revolution, the robber barons demanded more out of workers while paying less. These workers faced terrible conditions, while pay and benefits were stagnant. Miners across the Eastern United States labored long hours, lived in company housing, and bought groceries at the company store. A miner could labor in dangerous conditions and then find themselves in debt to their employer at the end of the month.


Little has changed, as today we still have robber barons who work to drain everything from workers while providing less than a living wage. In 2022, the average median income in the United States fell by 2.3% while corporate profits soared. Workers who have no union representation have no choice but to accept what the companies roll out. The “act of uniting into one” is the only recourse a worker has.


The UAW is a very diversified union, representing workers in automotive, aircraft, agricultural, and all types of manufacturing. What some may not realize is, we also represent office workers, casino workers, graduate students, nurses, teachers, legal workers, and a host of other workers in all types of sectors. We can help you organize your workplace and collectively bargain for yourself and your coworkers to improve wages, benefits, and working conditions.


United States Labor Law states that for a group of workers to form a union, a majority of workers must be willing to vote to form a union. While this may sound like an insurmountable task, every day across the United States, workers vote to form a union. Recent polls show that 71% of Americans hold a favorable view of unions, one of the highest numbers in years.


While forming a union takes a majority of employees, the passion can start with just one, YOU! If you are interested in forming a union at your workplace, contact the UAW. If you work in one of the seventeen states within Region 8, you can call the region office at (615) 443-7654 and ask for information on organizing. You can also send a request directly to the UAW Organizing Department at


Remember YOU are the “U” in union. It takes each of us standing together in solidarity to ensure workers are provided a safe workplace and fairly compensated.






Tim Smith UAW Region 8 Director









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