A labor union is an organization, protected by law, formed to secure the interests of its members. Labor unions protect member rights in regards to matters relating to wages, hours, and working conditions. They are usually industry specific and are more commonly found in manufacturing, mining, construction, transportation, and public sector i.e. government jobs.
A labor union is often favored by employees since it can give an employee the opportunity to achieve respect and fairness at the workplace. Also, it can give the employee a stronger voice in making decisions that may impact their job.
Like a democracy, labor unions hold elections to determine officers who will make decisions and represent the members of the union. Benefits to becoming a part of a labor union are the power to negotiate with employers as an entire group as opposed to as an individual.
In 1935, Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) for the purpose of protecting "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."
Labor union laws were created to mediate the rights and duties of workers and employers.
Creating a union can be boiled down to these basic steps:
The Fair Labor Standards Act is a federal act established in 1938. The FLSA "establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments." As of July 24, 2009, covered nonexempt workers are entitled to earn in their job a wage not less than $7.25 per hour. An exempt worker is an employee in a position excluded from minimum wage, overtime regulations and other protections afforded to workers protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
First off, you are not legally required to join a labor union, however, if you choose to join a labor union, you will be entitled to the rights and protections of the other members. As a union member, you have a right to be represented equally and fairly as compared to the other members in the same union.
As outlined by the U.S Department of Labor, union member rights can be organized in the following categories:
Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 was created to "provide standards for the reporting and disclosure of certain financial transactions and administrative practices of labor organizations and employers; protection of union funds and assets; the administration of trusteeships by labor organizations; and the election of officers of labor organizations." The LMRDA also guarantees rights to union members.
Under the LMRDA, an officer of a union or employer is responsible for maintaining records and reports of the union organization. There are a variety of materials that must be filed by officers and members of labor unions in order to be found in compliance with the requirements of the LMRDA.
When unions and employers engage in wage negotiations, wage disputes may and often do occur. Unions organize boycotts and strikes when unions and employers are unable to reach an agreement. A wage dispute may occur when national and/or state wage standards are violated or where an employer has breached contractual obligations to employees.
If you are thinking of starting a union, a qualified employment attorney can help you determine where to begin. An experienced employment attorney can also offer aid if you are a member of a union and have specific questions about disputes with your employer or disputed within your union.
Last Modified: 02-05-2015 04:08 PM PSTLaw Library Disclaimer
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