Frequently Used Terms

An ongoing organization of workers whose mission is to improve the lives of its members and the communities in which they live.

Local Union
An organization of working people who bargain collectively over their wages and working conditions with their employer. The local union has its own bylaws and elects its own officers, but is chartered by the parent union of which it is a part.

Public Employee
A person who is employed by a government agency and includes the employees of a municipal, county, state, or federal agency or state college or university. 

Private Sector
All for-profit businesses that are not owned or operated by the government. Companies and corporations that are government run are part of what is known as the public sector, while charities and other nonprofit organizations are part of the voluntary sector. 

Collective Bargaining
Talks between workers and their employer over issues like wages, scheduling, workplace safety, paid time off, job training, and health and retirement benefits.

Right To Work
A legislative tactic used by corporations to severely weaken or eliminate unions by making it legal for workers who are protected by a union contract to opt out of paying membership dues. 

Paycheck Deception
Paycheck deception is being used by corporate-backed politicians as a way to bankrupt unions by prohibiting payroll deduction for union dues and fees. 

Union Security Agreement
A contractual agreement, usually part of a union collective bargaining agreement, in which an employer and a trade or labor union agree on the extent to which the union may compel employees to join the union, and/or whether the employer will collect dues, fees, and assessments on behalf of the union. Types of union security agreements: union shop, agency shop, open shop.

Union Shop
An employer can hire non-union employees, provided that the employees then join the union within a certain period. Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act authorizes individual states to outlaw the union shop for employees working in their jurisdictions. Any state law that outlaws such arrangements is known as a "right to work" law.

Agency Shop
Employees must pay the equivalent of the cost of union representation, but need not formally join the union. Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act authorizes individual states to outlaw the agency shop for employees working in their jurisdictions. Any state law that outlaws such arrangements is known as a "right to work" law.

Open Shop
An employee cannot be compelled to join or pay the equivalent of dues to a union, nor can the employee be fired if he or she joins the union.

A company or group of people authorized to act as a single entity (legally a person) and recognized as such in law. 

A chief executive officer, the highest-ranking person in a company or other institution, ultimately responsible for making managerial decisions.