Under the National
Labor Relations Act (NLRA) you have the legal right to
form a union in your workplace. The NLRA says:
7 (U.S. Code Title 29,
Chapter 7, 157): "Employees shall have the right to
self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations,
to bargain collectively through representatives of their
own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities
for the purpose of collective bargaining ....."
Section 7 gives you the right
Attend meetings to discuss
joining a union.
Read, distribute, and discuss
union literature (as long as you do this in non-work area
during non-work times, such as during breaks or lunch hours.)
Wear union buttons, T-shirts,
stickers, hats, or other items on the job (providing you
can wear non-union related items. The company cannot
discriminate because it relates to union.)
8(a)(U.S. Code Title 29,
Chapter 7, 158a): "It shall be an unfair labor
practice for an employer .... to interfere with, restrain,
or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed
in Section 7 of this title...."
Section 8(a) makes it illegal for the Company
Threaten to or actually
fire, lay off, discipline, harass, transfer, or reassign
employees because they support the union.
Favor employees who don't
support the union over those who do in promotions, job
assignments, wages, hours, enforcement of rules, or any
other working condition.
Shut down the worksite or
take away any benefits or privileges employees already
enjoy in order to discourage union activity.
- Promise employees a pay
increase, promotion, benefits, or special favors if they
oppose the union.
What this means to employees
- It means that employees are supposed to have a FREE CHOICE in deciding whether or not they want to use their right to organize. Anything that an employer does to interfere with this free choice is against the law.
- It means that employers who get 'nose trouble' during an organizing campaign are breaking the law. An employer is not supposed to question employees, or even to find out, about how employees feel, who signed cards, which employees are pushing the union, who attended meetings, what went on at meetings, etc. It is none of their business.
- It means that an employer is not supposed to make any promises of raises, promotions, or other benefits in order to influence employees in the exercise of their rights.
- It means that an employer cannot take away, or threaten to take away, any benefits which you already have because of your union activity.
- It means that it is illegal for an employer to penalize an employee in any manner because of his union activity or belief. This includes such things as cutting out overtime, transferring to a less desirable job, suspension or discharge.
While we have rights under the law, laws are only good if they are enforced. Companies frequently get away with breaking the law during elections. That's why it is important to work with an IBEW representative to make sure rights are protected.
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