Union Resources

Organize Your Workplace

America’s working people are struggling to make ends meet, and our middle class is disappearing. The best opportunity for working men and women to get ahead economically is by uniting with co-workers to bargain with their employers for better wages and benefits. Workers who belong to unions earn 30 percent more than nonunion workers. They are 62 percent more likely to have employer-provided health coverage and four times more likely to have pensions.

More than half of U.S. workers—nearly 60 million—say they would join a union today if they could.

The Chicago Federation of Labor is the central labor council of the AFL-CIO. We represent over 300 local unions with jurisdiction in Cook County. These unions collectively represent approximately 500,000 working men and women employed in virtually every industry and trade in our area.

We can help you find the right local union that bests matches your needs and the needs of your fellow employees.

Please contact us at (312) 222-1000

Why Join a Union?

Working people in all walks of life join together in unions to gain a voice at work. Union members have a say about pay, benefits, working conditions and how their jobs get done—and having that say gives them a "union advantage."

STEP ONE: Know Your Rights

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States to...encourag[e] the practice and procedure of collective bargaining and [to] protect...the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self-organization and designation of representatives of their own choosing, for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment or other mutual aid or protection.

—National Labor Relations Act


Federal and state laws guarantee the right to form unions! Eligible employees have the right to express their views on unions, to talk with their co-workers about their interest in forming a union, to wear union buttons, to attend union meetings and in many other ways to exercise their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association.*

Despite these laws, many employers strongly resist their employees' efforts to gain a voice at work through unionization. So, before you start talking union where you work, contact us so that we can help you get in touch with a union that will help you organize.

*Supervisors and a few other kinds of employees customarily are excluded from coverage.

STEP TWO: Find Out Which Union is Right for You

To form a union on the job, you need the backup and hands-on help from the union you are seeking to join. If you don't already know which union is most able to help you, find out more about the various unions in the Chicago and Cook County area by visiting their websites here (link to affiliates page). Many of these websites enable you to contact the right person there directly to help you form a union.

STEP THREE: Get in Touch with a Union Organizer

Union organizers assist employees in forming unions on the job to give them the same opportunity for dignity and respect, good wages and decent working conditions that union members already have. Again, we can help you get in touch with a union organizer by contacting us directly.

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