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Rights of Nonunion Employees

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What Is a Nonunion Employee?

A nonunion employee is an employee who is not a member of a labor union. Most labor laws deal with union rights and related topics. However, nonunion employees make up a majority of U.S. workers and are entitled to similar workplace protection as their unionized counterparts.

How Can Nonunion Employees Bargain with Their Employers?

Unlike unionized workers, nonunion workers do not have a union as a bargaining representative. Nonunion employees cannot go on strike because only unions may call strikes. Nonunion workers do have similar rights to unionized workers, but they need to be addressed in a different manner. Examples include:

  • Concerted Activity – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) allows nonunion employees to engage in concerted activity. A concerted action occurs when employees get together to demand a benefit from the employer. As long as a demand is for the benefit of all employees, it is a concerted activity. An employer cannot fire employees for engaging in a concerted activity if the demands are reasonable. 
  • Employee Committees – Employee committees are common in nonunion companies and are similar to human resource departments. An employee committee usually consists of management and employee representatives that meet regularly to serve the interests of the employees.

Can Nonunion Employees Organize a Union?

Nonunion employees also have the right to try to form a union. An employer may not retaliate or discriminate against nonunion employees who attempt to organize or support a workplace union. If nonunion employees are voting on whether or not to unionize, an employer may not use threats or coercive action to influence the election process. Finally, an employer is prohibited from punishing workplace discussion about forming a union.

What Types of Demands Do Nonunion Employees Typically Make? 

All employees generally want the same benefits and conditions. Nonunion employees are no different. Typical demands include:

How Can a Lawyer Help Me?

Nonunion employees do not have as much bargaining power with employers as union employees. However, nonunion employees do have rights. If you are a nonunion employee who believes that your company is treating you unfairly, consult a labor law attorney to learn more about your rights and defenses.

Photo of page author Adam Vukovic

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 06-04-2017 11:28 PM PDT

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