Forming a union

Start by contacting an AUPE organizer who will support you and your coworkers throughout the process of unionizing.


Start by contacting AUPE’s Organizing Department: call 1-855-930-3401 or email but not on work time! An experienced Organizer can help you develop a plan that’s right for you and your workplace. All conversations will be kept completely confidential. PLEASE DO NOT DISCUSS FORMING A UNION WITH ANYONE AT WORK BEFORE AN AUPE ORGANIZER HAS ADVISED YOU.

Although each organizing drive is unique, they all follow the same basic steps:

First, a core committee of trusted co-workers reflecting a variety of backgrounds and jobs within your workplace gathers to plan and carry out the organizing strategy with support from your Organizer.

Next, a strong majority of the people in your workplace will need to sign a petition saying that you want to join AUPE (but don’t sign on work time!). Your employer will never see who signs. The Alberta Labour Relations Board will verify the petitions and check that enough people have signed to initiate a vote.

The next step is a secret ballot vote conducted by the Alberta Labour Relations Board. If the majority of the people who come out to vote, vote YES, AUPE is now your union!

At this stage, you will have the right to union representation, which means that you will have support from AUPE if your employer tries to discipline you or change the terms of your employment. You will also be able to access all the services and benefits available to AUPE members.

Finally, you and your coworkers will work with AUPE staff to negotiate with your employer to create your first collective agreement, a legally binding contract between a union and an employer that sets the terms and conditions of employment. AUPE members participate in this process by giving feedback on your top priorities for bargaining, joining the bargaining committee, and voting on your contract.

You will only start to pay union dues after you and your coworkers have voted to bring in a collective agreement that brings improvements to your compensation and working conditions. Union dues are the way union members pool their resources to build collective power.

AUPE’s dues rate is 1.25% of a member’s basic salary, which means that for each $100 you make, $1.25 will go to the union. Dues are tax deductible and do not apply to overtime or shift premium rates. Financing the union through dues means that individual members do not have to worry about paying for the support they need if they have a problem at work or want to access other union services and benefits.

Click here to find out more the benefits of joining AUPE!