What Are My Legal Rights?
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The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) gives employees the legal right to form a union. Here’s what the NLRA says:

Section 7: “Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form join, or assist labor organizations to bargain collectively through representation of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining…”

Section 8: “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…”

For the full text of the law go to www.nlrb.gov.

Your have the legal right to join and support a union and to:

  • Attend meetings during non-work time to discuss joining a union
  • Talk about the union whenever other non-work talk is allowed
  • Read and distribute union literature as long as you do this in non-work areas during non-work times such as breaks, lunch hours or before or after work
  • Sign a card or petition to show support for a union
  • Ask other employees to support the union, to sign cards or petitions requesting your employer to recognize and bargain with your union

It is illegal for your employer to:

  • 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 work site or take away any benefits or privileges employees already enjoy in order to discourage union activity
  • Promise employees a pay increase, promotion, benefit or special favor if they oppose the union
  • Ask employees if they attended a union meeting, if they support the union or any other questions about their union activity
  • Refuse to deal with the union once employees vote to be reprensented

If your employer breaks the law, the union can help you file an “Unfair Labor Practice” charge with the National Labor Relations Board (www.nlrb.gov). The NLRB has the power to enforce the law and order an employer to stop interfering with employees’ rights, to provide back pay and to reverse any action taken against workers when they try to form a union.

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