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If you wish to submit a questions in regards to the NLRB unionization process and/or the union specifically, please click the button to direct you to the FAQ mail page.

Any effort to state basic principles of law in a simple way is a challenging and unenviable task. This is especially true about labor law, a relatively complex field of law. Anyone reading this Guide to the National Labor Relations Act must bear in mind several cautions.

  • What federal law governs unionization in the U.S.?
    Numerous state and federal laws govern the rights, responsibilities and regulations pertaining to unionization in our country. The federal law that pertains to unionization of private sector employees in the U.S. is called the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The purpose of the NLRA is to define and protect the rights of the employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining [Negotiations], and to eliminate practices by unions and employers that are harmful to the general welfare. The federal government states, after 8 decades of this law’s enactment, there is still a lack of basic understanding. This is a complex law; understanding it is a challenging and unenviable task.
  • When was the U.S. Labor Law enacted?
    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.
  • Who enforces the National Labor Relations Act?
    The NLRA is administered and enforced by the National Labor Relations Board and General Counsel with offices across the country. Federal agents of “the Board” investigate and prosecute violations of the law [unfair labor practices], and conducts elections to determine employee representation.
  • Employers and Employees shound take caution?
    The law says, “Voluntary adjustments of differences at the community and local level is almost invariably the speediest, most satisfactory, and longest lasting way of carrying out the objective of [this law].” “Consequences of Ignorance – formal proceedings that can be time consuming and costly, often followed by bitterness and antagonism – are economically wasteful, and its usually accurate to say neither party really wins.”
  • What are Employee Rights?
    Employees have right to (a) support, join, assist a union, (b) participate in concerted activity, like striking, (c) equally as important, employees have the right to refrain [SAY NO] from any/all such activity.
  • What is Union Security? Do I have to join? Do I have to pay?
    Federal law permits the company and the union to make an agreement called “Union Security”. This language in a collective bargaining agreement requires the employees to make certain payments (dues, fines, assessments, initiation fees) to the union as a condition of employment [or be terminated if fail to pay]. Furthermore, the Union Security Agreement may require that employees be "members in good standing" with the union. In other words, employees are expected to join the union as a member and take a pledge, or oath, that they will obey the union's rules [Constitution and Bylaws].
  • What are employees' rights to strike?
    Federal law permits employees the right to strike [concerted activity]. There are 2 types of strikes; Economic Strikers [for financial gain], and Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) Strikers [protest of ULP charges committed by employer]. Economic Strikers [to obtain economic gains, higher wages, shorter hours, better work conditions, etc] cannot be discharged, but can be permanently replaced. They are also entitled to reinstatement once they unconditionally apply back to work and once openings are available of qualified jobs. Pay/Benefits stop immediately when employees walk out. Only a select few states allow unemployment for those involved in a work stoppage. ULP Strikers can neither be discharged nor permanently replaced. When the strike ends, ULP strikers, absent of serious misconduct, are entitled to have jobs back even if they were replaced.
  • What is Collective Bargaining?
    Collective bargaining is one of the keystones to the law. “It’s the ONLY thing the union wins the right to during an election. The employer and the union are required to (1) meet at reasonable times, (2) confer (negotiate) in good faith, and (c) put in writing any agreement reached.” However, Well path is not required to agree to any proposal the union makes, just as the union is not required to agree to any proposal Wellpath makes. No one can guarantee what the results of collective bargaining will be. The results could be better for you, the same, or worse.” It’s your call since this is really your area of expertise. It’s the ONLY thing the union wins the right to during an election. The only question on a the ballot will be, “Do you wish to be represented by [the union] for purpose of Collective Bargaining?” Collective Bargaining {Sect 8d) requires the employer and the union to (1) meet at reasonable times, (b) confer [negotiate] in good faith, (c) put in writing any agreement reached. However, the employer is not required to agree to any proposal the union makes, just as the union is not required to agree to any proposal the employer makes. No one can guarantee what the results of collective bargaining will be. The results could be better for you, the same, or worse. This obligation is imposed equally on the employer and union. It is a violation of law [unfair labor practice charge] for either party to refuse to negotiate with the other. However, the employer and the union are NOT compelled to agree to any proposal by the other or make a concession to the other.
  • If the union is voted in, can an employee opt out of representation?"
    [Sect 9a] of the law states, once an employee representative [union] has been designated or selected by a majority of the employees, ONLY that union shall be the exclusive representative of ALL employees in the unit. By law employees cannot opt out of being represented by the union. The union must represent all employees equally, those who support the union and those who oppose, and fairly without regard to their union membership or activities. However, once a union is selected, it is illegal for employer to bargain (negotiate) with individual employees, with a group or employees, or with another union.
  • What are Unfair Labor Practice [ULP] Charges?
    Unfair Labor Practices (ULP) are actions by the union, the employer, or their representatives that is considered a violation of the law [Employee Rights]. The employer, the union, or the employee can file “charges” against the union or the employer as allegations or violations of law. Examples of ULP Charges Against Employer (Pg 21-22): Agents of the employer cannot Threaten employees loss of jobs or benefits, Threaten closure of the plant, Interrogate employees about their union activity or membership, Spy on union meetings, or make promises to discourage employees from forming a union. Employer cannot dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of any labor organization. Examples of ULP Charges Against Union (pg 31): Agents of the union cannot restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of their rights guaranteed by NLRA. Union cannot coerce employees by physical assault, threats of violence, threats to affect employees job status. However, union can make promises to employees to encourage their authorization, vote, or membership, simply because they are not "a capable party to carry our such promises".
  • Can the Union make their own rules?
    Federal law allows the union to establish and enforce their own rules of membership and to control their internal affairs. However, it is unlawful for the union to prohibit a member from resigning from the union. Most union rules (Constitution and Local Bylaws) allow the union the right to hold members on trial for breaking the rules, crossing the picket line, not attending union meetings, attempting to remove (decertify) the union and more. Union rules allow the union to fine members who violate the rules of membership. Employees who are not sworn members to the union, and who are not legally bound to the union's rules, do not participate in union activities, have no voice in who represents them as union officers, do not vote on union contracts, and cannot run for union office.
  • Can the employer discipline or discharge employees after the union election?
    Federal law allows the employer the right to adhere to its policies and procedures; the right to discharge, transfer, lay off for genuine economic reasons or for good cause as disobedience or bad work. This right applies to employees equally who actively support a union and those who are not.
  • Can the employer make changes to wages, benefits or work conditions during a union campaign?"
    Federal law prohibits the employer from making “unilateral action [changes]” on its own with respect to matters required to bargain. If union wins the election, it could be illegal for employer to give new benefits, or extraordinary wage increases to represented employees unless it has consulted the union first.
  • If the employer or the union violate the law (NLRA) are they arrested?
    The National Labor Relations Act is not a criminal statute. It is entirely remedial. This law is intended to prevent and remedy unfair labor practices, not to punish the person responsible for them.
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