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Frequently Asked Questions about the East Bay Depot

#1 - Why should The East Bay Depot workers unionize?

All workers deserve a voice. No company transcends the need for legally backed workers' rights.

All workers deserve respect, better wages, better benefits, job security, and a voice at work. Currently, The East Bay Depot workers have no voice in the policies and decisions that affect us. Only by unionizing will workers have the legal right to negotiate the terms and conditions of our employment. When workers stick together as a union, they have bargaining power and a collective voice that they simply do not have when they are not unionized. We deserve to be part of an organization of which all members have a real voice.

#2 - What is a union?

A union is a group of workers who join together to achieve respect, fairness, dignity, and a voice in workplace decisions.

Unions counter-balance the unchecked power of employers. Without a union, The East Bay Depot Management, Executive Dir., and Board members have complete authority to make all decisions. When workers unionize, however, The East Bay Depot is legally obligated to negotiate a contract with their employees.

#3 - Are we asking customers to boycott the store?

No, absolutely not! On the contrary, we encourage all of the customers to continue shopping at and supporting The East Bay Depot. The workers at The Depot are committed to the mission and the survival of this much needed community resource. We have worked hard to keep it going and will continue to.

#4 - Can The East Bay Depot prevent its workers from organizing or joining a union?

No. Our right to form a union is protected by Federal law.

#5 - Who runs the union?

The workers are the union! The workers run their own union, and all decisions are made democratically.

#6 - What can unionizing do for workers not being treated fairly?

Fairness is the most important aspect of the union contract. The same rules apply to everyone.

Under a union contract, the supervisor no longer has the final say. So, if we aren't satisfied with the response of the supervisor, we can file a grievance, the final stage being an outside neutral arbitrator. At the same time, our power lies in our community. We need our community to stand by us in support of a decent contract and fair treatment.

#7 - Will The East Bay Depot close if I vote for a union?

No. It is against the law for the company to close or threaten to close because of union activity. More non-unionized workplaces close every year than unionized workplaces.

Unions provide a mechanism for workers to have a voice, of which in turn helps increase worker moral and decrease employee turnover. Companies do not go out of business because their workers are unionized and are treated fairly; they go out of business because of poor management practices, or because people stop buying their products.

#8 - Will prices go up if we have a union?

We hope that if our ideas are listened to and we can work together as a team with management, The Depot will run more efficiently and prices will go down. We think that teachers, especially in these hard times, deserve lower prices.

#9 - Why the IWW?

The IWW has successfully organized other recycling workers in Berkeley. The IWW also represents the curbside recyclers at the Berkeley Ecology Center and the Community Conservation Centers, known as The "Buy Back."