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Legal Rights


Union Democracy Review



The Association for Union Democracy for a strong labor movement

Help request form use this form to request help with a union democracy problem.

Questions and answers about legal rights and organizing

Most recent : RICO monitorship

previous questions :

Outside election supervision

Merged, removed from office, and paying more...

Can members see the minutes?

AUD's union democracy benchmarks.

Mailing rights for amendment

Leaders of state employee union out of control

That's not the contract we voted for.

Grievances: do I have to go through the union?

Membership lists in elections;

Disciplined for speaking up at a union meeting ;

Electioneering by union staff;

Withholding dues;

The union credit card;

Changing unions;

Forming a caucus;

Getting an audit;

Voting rules;

Can't get the union constitution;

Free speech and web pages

Got a union democracy problem? Use our Request Help page.



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Need help with a union democracy problem?
Start here.

AUD provides guidance to unionists who want to defend democratic rights in their unions and thereby make them more powerful. (More about AUD and union democracy.) For historical background, read Rebels, Reformers, and Racketeers by AUD founder Herman Benson. See book description.)This page provides information will help you find information on this website and clarify your problem so that AUD staff can be more helpful to you when you contact us. NOTE: we have a very small staff and get many requests for information and advice. We do our best but can't guarantee that we will be able to help.

1. Find information on this website:

  • I have a lot of questions, where should I begin? -- Try the archived questions and answers about union elections, contract votes, grievances, dues, free speech, websites, etc. (See the list of questions in the box on the left of this page.)
  • What are my basic democratic rights as a union member? -- Read this short introduction to your rights under federal law. Democratic Rights for Union Members (description) is AUD's main book on this subject.
  • What does the law say? Read our summary, or see the full text of the law (LMRDA).
  • What can I do if I have a problem with a grievance? -- Start with Your Job, Your Rights an introductory pamphlet on grievances and union representation, on this site. We also have sample letters to file a grievance or request information about a grievance you already filed. See also The Legal Rights of Union Stewards (description), and Power on the Job (description).
  • What about contract ratification vote problems? -- See our archived questions and answers, also the books Democratic Rights for Union Members (description) and Power on the Job(description).
  • What if I have a problem with my hiring hall? -- See our page for building trades workers.
  • What about union election problems? -- Read an excerpt from the AUD publication "How to Get an Honest Union Election." -- See also Questions and Answers, LMRDA Summary, and the book Democratic Rights for Union Members (description)
  • I am thinking of running for union office, what do I need to know? Read an excerpt from the AUD publication "How to Get an Honest Union Election." -- See also our archived questions and answers, LMRDA Summary, and the book Running for Local Union Office (description)
  • How do we get started organizing for democracy in our union? -- See the archived questions and answers, also the Troublemaker's Handbook (description). Several other books maybe helpful, such as Power on the Job, and The Transformation of US Unions (descriptions). See also the excerpt about starting to organize from our Manual for Survival for Women In Non-traditional Jobs. AUD provides workshops on Legal Rights and Organizing, see our Education page.
  • Has AUD reported about my union before? -- Read articles from current and past issues of Union Democracy Review.
  • How can I find other activists in my union? -- See our links to rank-and-file and reform websites. See also the rank-and-file blogs on our RSS Feeds page.
  • Can you help me set up a website? -- See our Online Guide to building an effective website.
  • For other questions or problems, see the Legal Rights and Organizing page, try the site search, or contact AUD using the form below.

Note: some problems, like election complaints, require prompt action. If you are in a hurry, contact us using the form below or by telephone.

Disclaimer: the information presented on this website is general and intended for educational purposes. It is not a substitute for practical legal advice on any specific situation.

2. Request help from AUD
We ask a lot of questions, but the more information you provide, the easier it will be for us to help. Any information you send to AUD will be kept strictly confidential.

Please use this form:

What happens after I submit the form?

If we can help you with your problem or question, an AUD staff member will contact you as soon as possible. We get a lot of email and have a small staff, but we will try to reply to your message within three work days. If you need urgent help, you may want to call us at (718) 564-1114.

AUD is a not for profit organization run on a shoestring budget. We provide advice and information free of charge, but we ask that you consider joining AUD or making a donation so that we can continue to support union members.

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