The Law Says YOU Have The Right to Organize a Union

 Sec. 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 or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all of such activities except to the extent that such right may be affected by an agreement requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment as authorized in section 8(a)(3) [section 158(a)(3) of this title].

Employee Rights

Employees covered by the National Labor Relations Act are afforded certain rights to join together to improve their wages and working conditions, with or without a union.

Union Activity

Employees have the right to attempt to form a union where none currently exists, or to decertify a union that has lost the support of employees.

Examples of employee rights include:

  • Forming, or attempting to form, a union in your workplace;

  • Joining a union whether the union is recognized by your employer or not;

  • Assisting a union in organizing your fellow employees;

  • Refusing to do any or all of these things.

  • To be fairly represented by a union

 

Activity Outside a Union

Employees who are not represented by a union also have rights under the NLRA.  Specifically, the National Labor Relations Board protects the rights of employees to engage in “concerted activity”,  which is when two or more employees take action for their mutual aid or protection regarding terms and conditions of employment.  A single employee may also engage in protected concerted activity if he or she is acting on the authority of other employees, bringing group complaints to the employer’s attention, trying to induce group action, or seeking to prepare for group action.

A few examples of protected concerted activities are:

  • Two or more employees addressing their employer about improving their pay.

  • Two or more employees discussing work-related issues beyond pay, such as safety concerns, with each other.

  • An employee speaking to an employer on behalf of one or more co-workers about improving workplace conditions.

Who is covered?

Most employees in the private sector are covered by the NLRA. However, the Act specifically excludes individuals who are:

  • employed by Federal, state, or local government

  • employed as agricultural laborers

  • employed in the domestic service of any person or family in a home

  • employed by a parent or spouse

  • employed as an independent contractor

  • employed as a supervisor (supervisors who have been discriminated against for refusing to violate the NLRA may be covered)

  • employed by an employer subject to the Railway Labor Act, such as railroads and airlines

  • employed by any other person who is not an employer as defined in the NLRA

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National Labor Relations Act

Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA") in 1935 to protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to curtail certain private sector labor and management practices, which can harm the general welfare of workers, businesses and the U.S. economy.


NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT


Also cited NLRA or the Act; 29 U.S.C. §§ 151-169


[Title 29, Chapter 7, Subchapter II, United States Code]


FINDINGS AND POLICIES

 Section 1.[§151.] The denial by some employers of the right of employees to organize and the refusal by some employers to accept the procedure of collective bargaining lead to strikes and other forms of industrial strife or unrest, which have the intent or the necessary effect of burdening or obstructing commerce by (a) impairing the efficiency, safety, or operation of the instrumentalities of commerce; (b) occurring in the current of commerce; (c) materially affecting, restraining, or controlling the flow of raw materials or manufactured or processed goods from or into the channels of commerce, or the prices of such materials or goods in commerce; or (d) causing diminution of employment and wages in such volume as substantially to impair or disrupt the market for goods flowing from or into the channels of commerce.

 The inequality of bargaining power between employees who do not possess full freedom of association or actual liberty of contract and employers who are organized in the corporate or other forms of ownership association substantially burdens and affects the flow of commerce, and tends to aggravate recurrent business depressions, by depressing wage rates and the purchasing power of wage earners in industry and by preventing the stabilization of competitive wage rates and working conditions within and between industries.

 Experience has proved that protection by law of the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively safeguards commerce from injury, impairment, or interruption, and promotes the flow of commerce by removing certain recognized sources of industrial strife and unrest, by encouraging practices fundamental to the friendly adjustment of industrial disputes arising out of differences as to wages, hours, or other working conditions, and by restoring equality of bargaining power between employers and employees.

 Experience has further demonstrated that certain practices by some labor organizations, their officers, and members have the intent or the necessary effect of burdening or obstructing commerce by preventing the free flow of goods in such commerce through strikes and other forms of industrial unrest or through concerted activities which impair the interest of the public in the free flow of such commerce. The elimination of such practices is a necessary condition to the assurance of the rights herein guaranteed

 It is declared to be the policy of the United States to eliminate the causes of certain substantial obstructions to the free flow of commerce and to mitigate and eliminate these obstructions when they have occurred by encouraging the practice and procedure of collective bargaining and by protecting the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self- organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing, for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment or other mutual aid or protection.

You can read the entire National Labor Relations Act Here

Download the NLRA Here