Your rights to organize are set forth in Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act:
“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 means that you have the legal right to help organize, to join, and to support a union of your own choosing. This includes but is not limited to such activities as:
- filling out an authorization card
- getting others to fill out cards
- attending union meetings
- wearing union buttons
- passing out union literature
- talking about the union to other employees.
Under Section 8 of the National Labor Relations Act, your employer cannot punish you for your union support or activity.
For example, it is illegal for your employer to do the following:
- Threaten to, or actually fire, lay off, harass, transfer or reassign employees because they support the union;
- Favor employees who don’t support the union over those who do through promotions, job assignments, wages, hours, enforcement of rules, or any other working conditions;
- Shut down the work site or take away any benefits or privileges employees already enjoy in order to discourage union activity; or
- Promise employees a pay increase, promotion, benefit or special favor if they oppose the union.
You can protect your legal rights.
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. 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 support or activity. Decisions made by the Labor Board are court enforced to provide teeth to the Act.
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 or Company Officials Legally CAN NOT:
1. Attend any union meeting, park across the street from the meeting place to see which employees attend the meeting, or engage in any under-cover activity which would make employees feel they are being spied upon to determine who is participating in the union campaign.
2. Tell employees the Company will fire or punish them if they engage in union activity.
3. Lay off, discharge, or discipline any employee for union activity.
4. Grant employees wage increases, promotions or benefits in order to keep the union out.
5. 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.
6. Assign work to create conditions intended to get rid of an employee because of Union activity.
7. Ask employees how they intend to vote.
8. Threaten employees with economic reprisals for participating in union activities. For example, threaten to close or sell the facility, lay-off workers, or reduce employee benefits.
9. Promise benefits to employees if they vote against the union.
10. Announce that the Company will not bargain with a union.
11. Discriminate against union supporters when assigning overtime or desirable work.
12. Purposely team up anti-union employees and keep them apart from union supporters.
13. Transfer workers on the basis of union activity.
14. Choose employees to be laid off on the basis of weakening the union’s strength.
15. Discipline union supporters for a particular action, and allow anti-union employees to go unpunished for the same action.
16. Go against Company policy for the purpose of getting rid of a union supporter.
17. Take actions that adversely affect an employee’s job or pay rate because of union activity.
18. Threaten a union supporter through a third party.
19. Threaten workers or coerce them in an attempt to influence their vote.
20. Tell employees overtime work or premium pay will be discontinued if the facility is organized.
21. Start a petition against the union or take part in it’s circulation if started by employees.
22. 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, which is the law that protects your right to organize a union!
Please report these acts, if committed, to your Organizing Committee or Union Representative immediately!