Your Right to a Union

You have the right to organize and support a union in your workplace

The rights of workers to advocate for a union, organize a union, and support a union are protected by law.

These rights are set forth in section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935:

"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..."

This law means that you have the legal right to help organize a union, join a union, and support a union of your choosing. This also means you are also protected by law when you do things like:

  • Wear union buttons
  • Pass out union information
  • Talk to other employees about union
  • Join a union
Steward Conference_3-2017_39

The law protects you

Section 8 of the National Labor Relations Act protects you from an employer that tries to punish you for participating in union activities.

For example, your employer cannot legally do any of the following:

  • Threaten to or actually fire, lay off, harass, transfer, or reassign employees because they support a union.
  • Favor employees who don't support the union over those who do. This means employers cannot promise or provide employees with pay increases, promotions, benefits, or special favors if they oppose the union.
  • Shut down the work site or take away any benefits or privileges that employees already enjoyed in order to discourage union activity.

Protect your rights with a strong Union

The best way to encourage your employer to recognize a union and negotiate a fair contract is to build a strong organization where you work.

If your employer violates the law, the union can help you file "unfair labor practice" charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The Labor Board has the power to order an employer to stop interfering with employees’ rights, to provide back pay, and to reverse any action taken against workers for union activity, including termination. Decisions made by the Labor Board are court enforced.

You can help protect your legal rights by:

  • Keeping written notes of any incidents in which company officials or supervisors threaten, harass or punish workers because of union activity.
  • Immediately reporting any such incidents to your organizing committee and the union staff.

Supervisors and Company Officials have restrictions

Supervisors and company officials are not allowed to engage in certain behaviors that might be threatening to union members.

Supervisors and company officials cannot do any of the following:

  • Attend any Union meeting, park across the street from the meeting place to see which employees attend the meeting, or engage in any undercover activity which would make employees feel they are being spied upon to determine who is participating in a Union campaign.
  • Tell employees the company will fire or punish them if they engage in Union activity.
  • Layoff, discharge, or discipline any employee for Union activity.
  • Promise or grant employees wage increases, promotions, or benefits in order to keep the Union out.
  • Ask employees about their own Union membership or activities or those of fellow employees, including meeting attendance, card soliciting or signing, and other forms of Union participation.
  • Assign work to create conditions intended to get rid of an employee because of Union activity.
  • Ask employees how they intend to vote.
  • Threaten employees with economic reprisals for participating in Union activities, such as closing or selling the facility, laying off workers, or reducing pay or benefits.
  • Promise or provide benefits to employees if they vote against the Union.
  • Announce that the company will not bargain with a Union.
  • Discriminate against Union supporters when assigning overtime or desirable work.
  • Purposely team up anti-Union employees and keep them apart from Union supporters.
  • Transfer workers on the basis of Union activity.
  • Choose employees to be laid off with intentions of weakening the Union’s strength.
  • Discipline Union supporters for a particular action, and allow anti-Union employees to go unpunished for the same action.
  • Go against company policy for the purpose of getting rid of a Union supporter.
  • Take actions that adversely affect an employee’s job or pay rate because of Union activity.
  • Threaten a Union supporter through a third party.
  • Threaten workers or coerce them in an attempt to influence their vote.
  • Tell employees overtime work or premium pay will be discontinued if the facility is organized.
  • Start a petition against the Union or take part in its circulation if started by employees.
  • Urge employees to try to influence others to oppose the Union.

Any of the above acts constitutes a violation of the National Labor Relations Act. You and all workers have the right to participate in all Union activities and to be protected from retaliation from your supervisor or the company.

If you see or experience any of these acts, report them to your Organizing Committee or a Union Representative immediately!

You can reach the Local 342 Organizing Department at (866) 802-4994.