Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to common questions about unionizing and the Big Cartel Workers Union.
What is a union?
A union is a group of coworkers with the ability to collectively bargain for their work conditions.
How is a union formed?
First, colleagues have 1:1 conversations with one another to build relationships, understand what issues we each care about, and build support for forming our union together. Through more 1:1 and group conversations, we build support for our union and assess whether a supermajority of us think a union is a good idea. Then we confirm we have support, by asking our colleagues to sign onto a letter and a union authorization card.
Now it’s time to get our union recognized. We’re giving leadership the opportunity to voluntarily recognize us, though we are also prepared for an election at the National Labor Relations Board. Through either of these pathways to recognition, we need to demonstrate a simple majority of support to win our union. Once our union is recognized, we will elect a bargaining committee who will be responsible for solidifying our bargaining priorities and negotiating our union contract with support from OPEIU.
Once the bargaining committee has reached a final agreement with management, all of us will get to read through the contract and vote to ratify it. The contract is ratified when at least 50% of us vote in support.
Why would the workforce of a small tech company want to form a union?
For the same reasons any workforce would want to unionize—to improve our work conditions, set a precedent, and push the entire tech industry forward.
Who can be in the union?
Anyone who is not a manager or supervisor can join a union. US labor law excludes contractors, freelancers, non-US residents, and certain “confidential” employees.
Workers who are in the union are called the “bargaining unit.”
Who is OPEIU Local 1010? How did we select them as our union?
OPEIU Tech Workers Union Local 1010 is a local OPEIU union run by and for tech workers. OPEIU centers worker creativity and leadership while offering guidance, structure, and training on how to navigate a union campaign.
After doing research into what our options were and talking with representatives from different unions, we chose OPEIU Local 1010 because of their support, kindness, and experience. Since our initial conversations, they’ve been our champions in making this happen.
Why are we unionizing, why is it necessary right now, and what does it solve that we can’t solve today at Big Cartel without a union?
- PROTECTION: Coming together to protect all workers at Big Cartel, especially those marginalized, and those that don’t feel as protected and vocal as others.
- POWER: We hold the power to make things happen when things need to happen.
- A SEAT AT THE TABLE: Having representation, guidance, and unity as we strive to make Big Cartel a better workplace.
What are some additional resources about unions and the unionizing process?
- The Motherboard Guide to Secure Organizing
- The Five Basic Steps to Organizing a Union
- Your Rights During Union Organizing
- This is what to do if you want to start a new union
- Breakdown of what NPR was able to win in their contract
- Unions explained by Bernie Sanders
- In Case of Emergency Fight Back organizing guide
- Union Busting Playbook