Unionizing 101

Introducing: Unionizing 101

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

New videos will appear here as they’re released.

Who can join a union?

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?

HOW TO: 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.

Coming soon

Check back each day for a new video.


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