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Union Representation: What You Should Know Before You Sign

Through a law enacted under Gov. Davis, a union can become your exclusive representative by obtaining your signature on an authorization card. Previously, a union could become your exclusive representative only through an election process.

Previous law Current law

Under the previous law, this sequence of events was required for a union to become the exclusive representative for a group of employees:

  1. The union was required to collect signatures on a signed authorization card from 30% of the individuals who would be represented by the union.
  2. If 30% of the employees signed an authorization card, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) would conduct an election. Employees in title codes affected by this proposed bargaining unit could vote on whether to have a union exclusively represent them with regard to their terms and conditions of employment with the University.
  3. If a majority of those voting voted for representation, the union would become the exclusive representative for all employees in those title codes.

Example: Recently, UPTE sought to exclusively represent UC administrative and professional employees. UPTE obtained signatures from 30% of these employees and PERB then conducted an election among employees in the proposed unit from all campuses. The affected employees chose not to be represented by UPTE.

Under the current law, Government Code Section 3577, this sequence of events is required for a union to become the exclusive representative for a group of employees:

  1. The union seeking to represent these employees can collect signatures on signed authorization cards from 50% of the employees in the proposed bargaining unit.
  2. The union automatically becomes the exclusive representative without an election.

Example: How does this work?

If a union collects signatures from 50% of the employees it is seeking to represent in an appropriate unit, such as administrative professionals, it would automatically become the exclusive representative without an election.

Your signature on an authorization card may be used to determine exclusive union representation without a secret ballot election.

This law applies to all University staff and academic employees, including senate faculty.