The National Labor Relations Act: Employee Rights and Labor Union Responsibilities

November 5, 2018

There are certain rights employees who belong to Labor Unions have with regard to their employment. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which was passed in 1935, codified such rights given to employees. The NLRA specifies basic rights of private sector employees to organize trade unions, engage in collective bargaining, and enjoy other rights including going on strike, if necessary.  Further, The National Labor Relations Act doesn’t allow employers to interfere with the right of employees to organize, form, join or assist a labor organization for collective bargaining purposes.

Which Professions Have Employees That Belong to Unions?

The following are common examples of jobs where the employees are more than likely to be associated with union activity.

  • Public school teachers
  • Truck drivers
  • Electricians
  • State employees
  • Forklift drivers
  • Warehouse workers
  • Police officers
  • Ironworkers and other similar craft/skilled jobs

However, not everyone who is employed in these professions must, or do, belong to Unions. Ultimately, it is the employees’ decision to join or not.

Employer Activities Which Violate The National Labor Relations Act

There are certain activities that employers cannot undertake when their employees belong to a Union. Employers cannot:

  • Threaten to fire employees if they join or participate in voting for a Union or engage in other protected concerted action
  • Threaten to close a plant or a work facility if the workers decide to unionize
  • Question their employees about their Union sympathies or activities or promise benefits to employees that do not join a Union
  • Transfer, lay off, terminate employees who join Unions
  • Assign harder tasks as a result of unionizing or otherwise punish employees for filing unfair labor practices charges against the employer

Rules Applicable to Labor Unions

When it comes to collective bargaining, there are certain rules that employers may not break. There are also certain rules applicable to the Labor Union itself.

A Labor Organization may not:

  • Threaten employees that they will lose their jobs if they choose not to support the Labor Union
  • Seek the suspension, discharge or otherwise punish employees for choosing to not be part of the Union
  • Refuse to go forth with a grievance due to the employee criticizing Union officials
  • Fine an employee who has resigned from the Union and subsequently acts in protected concerted action or crosses an unlawful picket line
  • Engage in pick line misconduct, such as threatening, assaulting or barring non-strikers from the employer’s premises
  • Strike over issues unrelated to the employees’ employment terms and conditions and/or coerce or entangle neutral employees into a labor dispute.

Further, there are certain rights a Union has with regard to requiring Union Members to pay fees to the Labor Union. For instance, where there is an agreement between an employer and a Labor Union, all employees in a bargaining unit may be required to pay Labor Union dues and fees within 30 days of being hired. In this case, employees who object to full Union Membership may continue as ‘core’ members and pay only a portion of the dues. An employee may object to Union Membership based on personal religious grounds. However, the employee still must pay a certain amount of dues. The amount of dues allowed to be charged by Unions is subject to federal and state laws and court rulings. Finally, Unions are obligated to tell all covered employees that the option to opt out of Union Membership exists.

Think You Have An Employment Law Claim? It's Time to Call Ticktin.

If you or someone you work with has a potential Employment Law claim or questions regarding your rights in the workplace, contact the experienced Florida attorneys of The Ticktin Law Group. To find out if you have a case, schedule a free consultation. Call (561) 232-2222 or complete our contact form here to get started.