Most unions have rules in their union constitutions that prohibit members from attempting to kick the union out. However, even if a union prohibits you as a member, you still have the legal right to do so.
As a union member, if you attempt to decertify your union, in certain unions, you may be put on union trial. However, while you could be expelled if found guilty, you cannot legally be fined by the union because you are exercising your legal rights.
The easiest way to avoid a trial, however, is to resign your membership before attepting to kick the union out.
In the 25 states that do not have "right-to-work" laws, where union dues or agency fees are a condition of employment, you can be an "agency fee payer" and still keep your job. [For more information about "right-to-work" laws go here.]
Can I get in trouble from my union for trying to kick the union out?
If a smaller group of employees (like a department) that is part of a larger bargaining unit wants to kick a union out, can the smaller group kick the union out, while leaving the union with the rest of the larger bargaining unit?
NO. As an employee covered by the National Labor Relations Act, you have the legally-protected right to be unionized or not. While most unions prohibit members from attempting to decertify the union, it is unlawful for an emplyer to take adverse action against you for trying to kick a union out of your workplace.
What can my co-workers and I expect from the union if we attempt to kick the union out?
Below are some of the more commonly asked questions employees have about unions and the process of decertification:
Can I get in trouble from my employer for trying to kick the union out?
No. If a smaller group of employees (like a department) is part of a larger bargaining unit, the National Labor Relations Board requires that the smaller group remains part of the larger bargaining unit.
However, if the smaller group of employees is dissatisfied with the union, the chances are that people in the larger unit may also be dissatisfied with the union as well.
If this is the case, in the age of the internet and social media, even a small group of employees can communicate with larger groups through emails, social media (like Facebook), and gather interest and the signatures necessary to hold an election (>30%) or even to demand that the employer withdraw recognition (>50%).
Giving Employees the Tools to Achive Workplace Freedom from Unwanted Unions
As you can imagine, most unions hate it when employees try to decertify them. For them, a decertification means a loss of membership and, very importantly, a loss in revenue.
As a result, you and your co-workers should be prepared for a union to use whatever tactics it can to try to keep you from kicking it out. The tactics include (but are not limited to)...
Combining scare tactics, along with promises, union do sometimes convince employees to stay unionized. Unfortunately, however, if employees do elect to stay unionized, then the union can lock them into another contract until the next window period opens up--which can be years down the road.