What is organizing?
The democratic process of joining with your coworkers to negotiate better terms and conditions of employment is referred to as organizing. The principle behind union organizing is simple: we have more clout with our employers when we negotiate as a unified group than we do when each of us negotiates as an isolated individual.
Organizing is a way of changing the status quo at a workplace. As a challenge to the status quo, it isn’t always easy. It often involves employees collectively voicing opposition to the positions of their management. But organizing is a powerful tool to win a voice and an inclusive, democratic process on the job. Through solidarity, we can accomplish together things that none of us is able to accomplish alone.
Employees’ right to organize is enshrined in federal law. Our industry and many others have a long history of employees using that right to improve their jobs and their lives. For more than 75 years, the Editors Guild has represented post-production professionals, and we are proud of our history of standing together to lift standards of employment for post-production.
How do post-production employees organize?
The organizing process will vary from workplace to workplace. It might proceed differently at a digital laboratory, for instance, than at a reality television production company. You should consult with a Guild organizer at the outset to figure out what approach will work best for your employer.
After an initial information-gathering phase, organizing entails a series of quiet conversations amongst coworkers and between employees and union organizers. Over the course of these conversations, we assess and build solidarity in order to prepare to move forward together. When there is evidence of strong support for organizing, employees will sign authorization cards, officially designating the union as their representative for the purpose of collective bargaining. The cards are confidential and will never be seen by the employer, but they represent a formal decision each employee makes to pursue collective bargaining in solidarity with her or his colleagues.
Once a strong majority of a given workforce has authorized the union to represent them in collective bargaining, we determine how best to begin the negotiations process. Broadly speaking, there are two paths to the negotiating table: a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election that results in the NLRB certifying the union and ordering the employer to bargain, and so-called “voluntary recognition,” in which an employer agrees to bargain in the absence of NLRB certification. (“Voluntary recognition” is perhaps something of a misnomer, because pressure is sometimes necessary to get an employer to volunteer; we often achieve voluntary recognition and a union contract through work stoppages or the threat of a strike.)
Again, no document can lay out all the factors that determine the course of a successful organizing campaign. If you’re considering organizing a post-production workplace, speak to a Guild organizer. Such conversations are held in strict confidence, and they represent the first step towards making real change on the job.