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Know The Facts

The Harrisburg-Area Community College (HACC) Unionization Vote is scheduled to run from February 24th through April 7th .

This vote to unionize is primarily driven by a desire for employees to have a greater say on what goes on at the university. That is understandable. However, it is important for employees to understand that they have options besides organizing with the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA).

Do you know your rights? 

Unfortunately, the PSEA has a long history of ignoring their members’ constitutional rights. They are also one of the most politically active unions in the United States, spending $40 million over the past 11 years on political campaigns.

Do you understand that you have choices?

If you’re looking to have a voice at the table, PSEA is not the way—they will stand between you and your employer. You have other options, including forming an independent local union, organizing with a different union, or finding other ways to increase employee representation in the workplace.

IMPORTANT: It is extremely difficult to remove a union after it wins a representation vote.

Interested in learning more about your rights? We want to help. Fill out the form at the bottom of this page to sign up for updates, or reach out to us at Info@AFFT.org.

We understand many of you may have questions about what a unionized workplace could mean for you.

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions related to the upcoming vote:

Should I vote in the election? 

YES! In a unionization vote, it’s only the majority that show up whose vote counts. So, if only three people show up to vote for the union, and two vote yes, the entire HACC faculty will be forced into the PSEA controlled bargaining unit. 
Even if you vote against the union, you will be forced into the bargaining unit if they win. 

What happens if the vote passes? 

You do not have to join the union, but if you do join the union, you will have the right to resign.
You cannot be forced to pay a union as a condition of employment, but because of Pennsylvania state law, you will be forced into the bargaining unit, even if you are not a part of the union.

How will my workday change with a union and a collective bargaining agreement? 

This will depend on what happens at the bargaining table. No union can responsibly guarantee better terms and conditions of employment before a contract is negotiated.

Will we get to vote on how the union spends money on politics, including lobbying and electoral efforts?  

No. Decisions about political support and spending are made by union officials at the state and national level.

Will I be able to speak to my supervisor privately about concerns I have in my workplace, or will a union representative have to be there?

Your union is your exclusive representative, which means they speak for you whether you are a union member or not. In some workplaces, union officials have the right to be present and offer their viewpoint at any meetings you want to have with your employer.

What if I don’t like something the union is doing? Will my right to speak up be protected? 

You may certainly speak up, but because the union is your exclusive representative, they ultimately have the right to make decisions on your behalf and will represent you regardless of your membership status with the union. 

Who decides who sits at the table during negotiations? 

The union chooses the negotiators who will represent employees. The employer also chooses their own negotiators.

What is voting like within the union? Will I have the power to vote directly for union leadership at the local, state, and national level? 

In most public sector unions, rank-and-file members cannot vote for state and national leadership. In some unions, members have a direct vote for local leadership, but in others, delegates are elected who then vote on members’ behalf.

Can the union refuse to process or refuse to represent a complaint or grievance on behalf of a member or non-member? 

Typically, unions get to decide what grievances to file on behalf of employees and how far to pursue those grievances. They can usually refuse to file a grievance on an employee’s behalf or to file for arbitration with little consequence.

If I choose not to join the union, does the union still get to represent me in collective bargaining and with my supervisor?

Yes, even if you choose not to join the union, they still represent you during collective bargaining negotiations.

If we vote not to accept/ratify a proposed collective bargaining agreement, is the union legally obligated to reject it and return to the bargaining table?

No. The union can legally ignore the wishes of union membership and either accept or reject an offer from the employer without or against a vote of membership.

Will the union provide me with a copy of the union by-laws?

You can ask, but it is not guaranteed that you will receive them.

If we unionize and then decide a union is not for us, what does it take to decertify? 

The steps necessary for a decertification election in Pennsylvania differ based on local ordinances. Typically, it is a cumbersome process to decertify a union. It is usually much easier for unions to come into a workplace than for employees to get them out.

If we decide to replace one union with another, what is the process? 

You would have to petition the local government for another vote on a new union and campaign against the incumbent union.

Once a union is in place, will I ever get to vote again on whether or not I want union representation to continue? 

Unlikely. Typically, once a union is in place, employees do not get to recertify that they still want the union to represent them.

Will full and part-time employees be covered under the same agreement? How will differences in needs be accounted for? 

Full- and part-time employees can be covered by the same collective bargaining agreement, even if their needs are very different. Whether union negotiators represent both groups fairly and evenly is difficult to determine.

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