Employees’ Rights and Unions

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 What Rights Do I Have If I Want to Join a Union?

The federal government has enacted the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and the Board (NLRB) to protect pro-union workers. The NLRB investigates unfair union activities and holds confidential voting for unionization. Employees are free to organize, promote and join a labor union of their designation without fear of retaliation from employers.

Employees have several rights when they join the union:

  • Right to be equally protected and ability to engage in protected concerted activity
  • Right to exercise their rights that are given to them as union members
  • Protection against the transfer, lay off, termination, assignment of job because the employee filed unfair labor practice charges against employer
  • Promised benefit of full union support
  • Protection to be free of coercion and restraint by employer
  • The right to nominate candidates for office

Do I Have to Pay Union Fees?

Joining the union and benefiting from the power of collective bargaining comes at the price of monthly dues. The NLRA allows employers and unions to enter into a agreement with employees in which employees will be required to begin paying their union dues and fees within 30 days of being hired. Employees may refuse to become full union members, and they will only be required to pay fees that are used directly for representation in matters such as the collective bargaining process.

If a union is charging you more monthly dues than others for no rational reason, filing a compliant with the NLRB can help.

What If the Union Is Not Fairly Representing Me?

If you think the union is not fairly representing you in a case against your employer, consulting with an employment attorney can help. An alternative is filing a complaint with the NLRB, which can start an investigation into the practices of your labor union.

Can We Change the Union Contract?

The NLRA details the procedure in which either party can alter the contract. Formal writings must be submitted and given reasonable time frames for the other side to fully understand and contest changes, usually anywhere from 30 to 60 days depending on what is to be altered.   

Do I Need an Employment Attorney?

Labor laws are detailed and can be exhausting when trying to understand them. A labor lawyer can advise you of your rights and the proper steps to take when attempting to file complaints or charges with the NLRB.   

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