Unionizing 101

Introducing: Unionizing 101

We’ve answering 25 of the most common questions our workplace organizers get asked — each in two minutes or less.

What kinds of workers can be in a union? Who’s not allowed?

When should we Strike?

From WGA writers to United pilots to Oakland teachers, thousands of workers have recently walked off the job and onto the picket line to fight for a fair contract. Here’s a quick download on how unions decide to go on strike.

How do you identify Leaders?

Every workplace organizing campaign needs a leadership team. Here’s how to find natural leaders — and leaders in the making.

What is a union?

What does it mean to be in a union, anyway?

How do I start organizing a union?

You’ve decided that your workplace needs a union don’t know what to do next. Here are the best first steps.

Will the Green New Deal hurt workers?

Some people have claimed the Green New Deal is bad for workers. Is it true?

How do we handle captive audience meetings?

If the random, mandatory, all-staff pizza party that got added to your calendar feels suspicious, that’s because it is.

What can we expect at contract bargaining?

Whether your union’s brand new or has been around for decades, there’s probably a contract negotiation in the not too far future. Here’s what to expect.

How do I make a power map for organizing?

If you’re just starting your unionizing campaign, it can be intimidating to think about how you’ll reach all of your coworkers to build enough support to win. But that’s where power mapping comes in.

How do I unionize my "progressive" company?

Worker exploitation doesn’t magically disappear when a company brands itself as “progressive.” Here’s how to make the boss put their money where their mouth is.

How can we protect ourselves while unionizing?

In most cases, it’s illegal to retaliate against workers for organizing. But that doesn’t mean bosses won’t try. Here are some tried and true tactics for protecting yourself and your coworkers.

Can unionizing help fight the climate crisis?

Unionizing 🤝 fighting the climate crisis. Here’s how.

Can I unionize my remote job?

If your “work from home” job is starting to feel like an “I live at work” job, it might be time to unionize. Here’s what you need to know about remote workplace organizing.

What are my rights during unionization?

The National Labor Relations Act protects most workers’ right to organize a union. But what does that mean, exactly?

How do I build relationships with my co-workers?

The culture of “professionalism” at work is designed to keep workers isolated and stop us from talking about our shared struggles. Here are some tips for breaking the ice and getting to the real talk.

How do we prepare for union-busting?

If you’re organizing at work, union busting isn’t a question of if, but when. Here’s how to stay one step ahead of the boss.

We won our union drive. Now what?

Winning your union drive is a huge victory, but the organizing doesn’t end there. Here’s how to keep building power as a newly recognized union.

What is a march on the boss?

Have you ever daydreamed about telling your boss what you really think about your wages and working conditions? A march on the boss may be the tactic for you.

Why do some people dislike unions?

What is it about unions that some people seem to dislike?

How do I organize co-workers who are exhausteD?

Organizing at work can be daunting, especially if you’re feeling burnt out by a toxic boss. Here’s how to meet coworkers where they’re at.

What do union dues pay for?

Bosses love trying to scare unionizing workers into believing they can’t afford union dues. It’s complete bullshit. Here’s why.

What do I do if my co-workers are scared to organize?

Do you have a coworker who supports unionizing, but is afraid of retaliation from the boss? Don’t count them out — here’s what to do.

How do I unionize if there are "right to work" laws in my state?

There is no such thing as an illegal strike (or union!), only an unsuccessful one. Don’t let bogus “right to work” laws get in your way.

Should we tell the media about our union?

Your community can’t stand in solidarity with your strike if they don’t know it’s happening! Here are some tips for how and when to tell the media about your union organizing.

How do we tell the boss our demands?

Ever made a request for workplace safety improvements or fair wages only to get completely ignored by your boss? Here’s how to make demands that can’t be ignored.


Ann Finkel

Ann is a middle school science teacher and rank-and-file member of the Chicago Teachers Union and a member of the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE). Before moving to Chicago, Ann taught in Boston, where she was active in the Boston Teachers Union as chair of the Housing Justice Committee and member of the Contract Organizing Committee.

Sarah Hurd

Sarah is an organizer with the Illinois Nurses Association. Previously, she helped organize Chicago’s bike share mechanic’s union, TWU Local 320. Sarah has also worked as a multimedia producer and journalist. 

Honda Wang

Honda is a rank-and-file member of AFSCME Local 1549, which represents NYC clerical-administrative employees in the public sector. He is an elected steering committee member of the DSA National Labor Commission.

Series Concept by

Producer and Editor



Special Thanks

Ilana Cheyfitz

Leigh Friedman

Hannah Faris

Ilana Cheyfitz

Wes Holing
Dave Kemper
Daphna Thier
Megan Svoboda
Sweet Void Cinema