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Get the facts: Union authorization cards

Fact sheet: Union Authorization Cards

Any union seeking to organize employees at a facility may at some point circulate union authorization cards. The purpose of these cards is to gauge whether there is enough support to continue their organizing efforts. We are providing you this fact sheet because, in the past, some employees have reported that they felt pressured to sign a card, or felt they were misled into signing after receiving inaccurate information about Providence.

We realize there is a lot of information to learn about this issue and that you may have questions. We are committed to providing you with the information you need during this process so that you may be as informed as possible before making your decision about supporting a union at your facility. Please feel free to ask your supervisor, manager, administrator, or contact your Human Resources office or submit your question online.

If someone asks you to sign a union authorization card, you may want to consider the following five facts:

Fact 1: Union cards are legal documents.

If you read the language on the card carefully, you will see that by signing a card, you are authorizing the union to represent you at work. The cards are not just about gathering information. Make sure you know what this union is all about before you sign an authorization card. In some settings, these cards are used instead of a formal voting process for all employees.

Fact 2: Nothing is automatic.

No one can predict the outcome of having a union at work. Employees can end up gaining, losing, or having everything remain the same. We urge you to be informed before making any decisions.

Fact 3: Union membership involves costs.

Union membership often involves dues, fees, assessments, and the possibility of fines. These costs vary depending on which union is involved. Be informed about these costs before signing a card.

Fact 4: Strikes become a possibility.

With a union, there is always a possibility of a strike at work. In our social tradition, a strike is always considered to be a last resort to resolve grievances because they can be devastating to patients, all employees and the community. You will want to know this union’s strike record and other facts about how strikes happen before signing a union card.

Fact 5: Once you sign, you may not be able to get the card back.

Unions are not legally obligated to return signed union cards even if employees request that they be returned. So, in addition to protecting your personal information, make sure you have made up your mind before signing a card.