My company is going through a consultation at the moment with the possibility of redundancies.

As part of this I have received a letter to say that I will be represented by the Union, even though I am not a member of the union. I have confirmed this to be the case with the union. Other employees in other departments that are not represented by the union get to choose their own representative.

However, I was told I will not get a vote on matters, and will need to sign up to the union to do so. This does not seem fair to me, if I do not want to be part of the union, surely I should get the option if I want to be represented by them or not?

closed as off-topic by gnat, IDrinkandIKnowThings, AffableAmbler, bharal, paparazzo Oct 15 '18 at 23:34

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  • 2
    What is your concrete goal with this question? We can't really answer "is this fair", but if you want to know how to get a say in whether or not to represent them (for example) we can probably answer that. – Erik Oct 15 '18 at 15:14
  • 1
    Are you allowed to sign up to the union? Are other people who do the same thing you do unionized? – David Thornley Oct 15 '18 at 15:21
  • when you say "other departments" is there a union presence in those departments? – SaggingRufus Oct 15 '18 at 15:32

That's the way it normally works.

The union gets to represent workers for a couple of reasons. The biggest is that companies don't want to negotiate a separate deal with union members, and a different deal with non-union members - or worse still a different deal for each employee. It makes for too much complexity, it raises all sorts of legal complications, and it raises resentment if the union deal ends up being better than the non-union deal. You should also remember that this is a negotiation about the whole pay structure, not about each person's individual compensation.

Even if there was no union, companies don't negotiate separate deals with each employee. You might get a merit increase, or a one time bonus, just for you, but you won't get extra vacation days or health benefits just for you. (Unless you are in a very small company, which are almost never unionized.) There is nothing stopping you negotiating separately for a merit increase or one-time bonus, if the company pay structure permits.

The good news is that a union is almost certainly going to get you a better deal than you are going to get on your own. Unions have lawyers, professional negotiators, and the power of numbers behind them. So the best way to think if it is that you are getting a professional organization to negotiate for you, for free, and you reap the benefits. There's a chance they will negotiate something you didn't want, like benefits you don't need, but there's a chance that will happen anyway. (That's another good reason why you don't want there to be two separate deals, one for union members and one for non-union. The non-union, meaning you, will usually come off worst.)

If you want to have a say in how the union negotiates, you can always join them.

There is nothing stopping you attempting to negotiate your own private deal. The likelihood of that succeeding is about the same, with or without a union.


If your goal is to represent yourself or choose your own representation, you need to do these things as soon as possible.

IMHO, the order should be:

1.Check you contract for any stipulations of you renouncing decision making power to Union at their request.

  1. Check with your manager or HR for reason of such blatant disregard for your rights, stipulating that you DO NOT give permission to union advocating on your behalf. Any response request in writing

If this would not be sufficient for union to back off, check with labor lawyer for validity of this situation, bring the answer given by the HR to the meeting

  1. Do what lawyer suggests

Would be nice to get updates the situation as it unfolds, but no one does it anymore :(

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