Just a note of caution: ECN really isn't interested in getting tied up in any manner of debate regarding unions in general. You can be sure this thread will b vry closely monitored.
Leaving a union is as simple as leaving the job. If you happen to work in one of those rare places where union membership is optional, your employers' human resourceses department can tell you what is necessary.
As you might guess, Unions are not in the business of losing members. Closely examine the impact your action will have on your medical benfits, pension benefits, etc., before you make the jump. You may also be required to obtain some other form of credentials - a 'union card' is only good for union members.
Union members often stop paying their dues and just 'fall out of site.' There are many reasons for this, but a change of employment is the most common.
If the member continues to pay dues, even if he's not working, he can -usually- maintain his benefits. Otherwise, he gets a rude surprise at pension time.
Likewise, a union will often impose fines and other sanctions if the member has been 'working in the trade' outside a contract; nearly every form of employment apart from flipping burgrs is considered as 'working in the trade.'
It can quickly becom rather complicated; remember the role of seniority in the typical union structure.
When someone leaves a Union job, for any reason, it is usually best that they go to Union Hall and get a 'withdraw card.' This can help clarify matters later, should one ever again have to deal with that particular union.
Remember: the Union has absolutely NO hold on you personally, but they do control certain benefits and credentials. There is absolutely nothing to stop you from opening up your own shop, or working for a non-union shop ... but you can also be sure that the Union will not welcome you back should the times change - just like many other employers.
I am currently a Union member and have belonged to more than 1. When I first moved to Victoria in 1980 the IBEW Union Business manager came out of his office after my 4th or fifth visit and told me that unless I had a family member in the local that i should stay out of the local office . I did.
You have a couple of choices. If you never want to go back, quit paying your dues. If you think you might want to go back, ask for an honorary withdrawl. I did option 2 a long time ago and eventually went back. My best advice is don't burn any bridges, take the honorary withdrawl, it won't cost you anything.
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
How does one get out of the union? I've tried, any ideas?
Here's the abridged version of my resignation letter.
Member address city, State, Zip Phone
March 17, 2006
IBEW Local Union #xxx Local address Local city, State, Zip, Phone
Subject: Member Resignation IBEW#, Card#, State JW #
I hereby request suspension until such time that related employment will not jeopardize my good standing with the Union.
I have not acted on, but have received offers from non-union shops, responding to an online resume required by my state Unemployment Department. Further, none of these shops have been willing to participate in a union salting option at this time. In order avoid one of several policy violation with my union working agreement, please accept my voluntary suspension in good standing.
Your local doesn't have any employment resources? I should think that they would have a primary interest in keeping members employed. But maybe I'm straying into the darker side of things...
Our union is all about work referral; in fact, it's one of the main ways to get in with our local. But then again, I'm in an industry and area where there are very few traditional "shops" where one can apply for employment and then be accepted into the union.