The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) extends rights to many private-sector employees including the right to organize and bargain with their employer collectively. Employees covered by the Act are protected from certain types of employer and union misconduct. They also have the right to attempt to form a union where none currently exists.
Examples of your rights as an employee under the NLRA:
- Forming, or attempting to form, a union among the employees of your employer.
- Joining a union whether the union is recognized by your employer or not.
- Assisting a union in organizing your fellow employees.
- Engaging in protected concerted activities. Generally, "protected concerted activity" is group activity which seeks to modify wages or working conditions.
NLRA forbids employers from interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of rights relating to organizing, forming, joining or assisting a labor organization for collective-bargaining purposes, or engaging in protected concerted activities, or refraining from any such activity.
You have a legal right to:
- Attend meetings to discuss joining a union.
- Read, distribute and discuss union literature, as long as you do this in non-work areas during non-work times, such as breaks or lunch hours.
- Wear union buttons, T-shirts, stickers, hats, or other items supporting unions on the job.
- Sign a card asking your employer to recognize and bargain
with the union.
- Sign petitions or file grievances related to wages, hours, working conditions and other job issues.
- Ask other employees to support the union, to sign union cards or petitions, or to file grievances.
Learn about the history of
the NLRA - 75th Anniversary
"The right to join a labor union of one's choice is unquestioned today and is sanctioned and protected by law."
President Harry Truman
"Only a fool would try to deprive working men and women of the right to join the union of their choice."
President Dwight Eisenhower
Read about the benefits of being a member of SPEEA - IFPTE Local 2001
- Threatening employees with loss of jobs or benefits if they join a union or engage in protected concerted activity.
- Threatening to close the plant if employees select a union to represent them.
- Questioning you about your union support or activities in a manner that discourages you from engaging in that activity.
- Promising benefits to employees to discourage their union support.
- Transferring, laying off, terminating, assigning employees more difficult work tasks, or otherwise punishing employees because they engaged in union or protected concerted activity.
- Punishing employees because they filed unfair labor practice (ULP) charges or participated in an investigation conducted by NLRB.
- Spying on employees' union activities in or outside the workplace.
Enforcement of the law does not happen by itself. If you are involved in organizing a union at your workplace, you should be in contact with a SPEEA organizer to become more informed of your rights and how to protect them!
- Document it: Keep good written notes of any incidents in which company officials or supervisors threaten, harass or punish workers because of union activity. Keep track of any witnesses, times and dates of such incidents.
- Report it: Immediately report any such incidents to SPEEA staff.
“One of our members spoke up at work one day and a director wanted him fired for insubordination. SPEEA saved his job and got him paid for the five days the company told him to stay home.”