Organize with Council 13

Please contact AFSCME Council 13’s Organizing Department at 1-800-523-7263 for assistance with organizing your workplace. Read below about more information on how and why you should organize!

Why Organize?

In a world of corporate greed, outsourcing jobs, increased technology and a shrinking middle class, a growing number of workers realize that if they want to gain – or maintain – dignity, respect and fairness in the workplace, they need to join together to form a union.

And while the world of work is changing – so is labor. AFSCME is leading that change. AFSCME members win concrete changes in their workplaces. By joining together to form an AFSCME local, new AFSCME members have won:

  • A strong voice in the workplace
  • Fair grievance procedures
  • Wage increases
  • Benefit improvements
  • Better staffing levels

Choosing AFSCME is the first step to success for many public service employees: AFSCME has the best record in the nation for helping workers secure representation rights by winning representation elections and settling first contracts.

Your right to join a union is protected under the Constitution of the United States. In Pennsylvania, public and private employees’ right to join a union is protected under law. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

Remember: United we bargain, divided we beg.

Why AFSCME Council 13?

For more than 50 years, AFSCME Council 13 has been fighting to improve wages, benefits, and working conditions for employees just like you – people who work to improve the lives of citizens across Pennsylvania. Today, AFSCME Council 13 represents more than 65,000 public employees of Pennsylvania and its counties, municipalities, cities, school districts, authorities, non-profits, and health care facilities.

In recent years, AFSCME Council 13 has added more than 3,000 new members to its ranks, including employees from Nursing Homes, School Districts, Boroughs, Counties, Courthouses, and Human Services.  We are nurses, aides, clericals, mechanics, bus drivers, food service workers, library workers, medical technicians, custodians, correctional officers, social workers and much, much more.  Together we have the strength to improve our jobs, our work and our lives.


How Does Organizing Work?

Once a strong majority of employees commit to supporting the union, they approach the Labor Relations Board to have an election. After a majority of employees vote ‘yes’, management will be legally obligated to negotiate as equals with employees over wages, benefits and work rules.

In the meantime, you will form a committee of your co-workers to represent you at the bargaining table, along with a professional negotiator from AFSCME. The Bargaining Committee will distribute a survey to determine the priorities of the membership for the upcoming negotiations.

Once a tentative contract is reached between the Bargaining Committee and management, the contract will be voted on by all the union members at your workplace. If a majority votes to accept the contract, it will go into effect.

How long does that process take?

It can vary dramatically.  It depends largely on the employees who are organizing the local, on how much time they can commit to the process, and how quickly they can move through the steps necessary to organize.

The time between starting to organize and holding a successful election typically takes more than a few months and less than a year, but each campaign is unique.  Throughout their effort, AFSCME will provide staff to assist workers who want to organize.

Why do we pay dues?

All unions are supported by dues paid by members.  AFSCME’s membership dues are 1.5% of your base pay (before overtime), and there are no initiation fees.  Your dues pay for a wide range of resources, staff, services and supplies that all exist for one reason: to help members improve their pay, benefits and working conditions.

A portion of your dues is returned to your local’s treasury and is used for regular membership meetings, to educate and empower the membership, and to send members to leadership conferences and conventions where policies are set that govern our union.

Know Your Rights!

It is your legally protected right to organize and form a union.  These rights are protected by the National Labor Relations Act and the Public Employee Relations Act of Pennsylvania.

It is illegal for an employer to stand in the way of employees exercising their rights to organize.  Your rights are clear.  Management cannot lawfully:

  • Fire, threaten to fire, discriminate against, or punish employees in any way for union activity;
  • Bar employees from discussing the union with co-workers during non-working hours;
  • Ask employees about the union, union meetings, or any other questions pertaining to the organizing and administration of your union;
  • Coerce employees by changing or threatening to change wages, hours of work, shifts, overtime or any other conditions of work.


Contact Us

For more information email: [email protected]
Or call: 1-800-523-7263