With a union contract, your rights are under your control because they were fought for by you and your co-workers.
Everyone has the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join or assist labor organizations.
The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. Those who would destroy or further limit the rights of organized labor...do a disservice to the cause of democracy.
Workers shall enjoy adequate protection against acts of anti-union discrimination.
Workers in America have the fundamental right to strike, and American workers have died on picket lines to protect it. The ability to withhold your labor is the one powerful tool throughout the history of unionization that has ensured workers can improve their working conditions.
Your Rights Under the NLRA
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935 is one of the most important foundations of United States labor law. It guarantees the right of private sector workers to form labor unions and the right to engage in negotiations with their employer for a contract that sets forth the terms of their employment (collective bargaining). This is set forth under Section 10 (29 U.S.C. § 160) of the law:
“Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection…”
The NLRA also guarantees that there can be only a single union with exclusive representation rights for a unit of employees and that employers are legally required to negotiate with their workers. In addition to these requirements, the NLRA also sets forth four other broadly-defined categories of things that employers are prohibited from doing, called “Unfair Labor Practices (ULPs).”
These categories are:
- interfering with two or more workers who seek to exercise or protect rights provided for under the NLRA
- dominating or interfering with the formation or administration of a labor union;
- discriminating against or punishing a worker for engaging in union activities;
- discriminating against workers who bring charges against their employer for violating U.S. labor law
Teamster Power in Action: Freedom of Association in Teamster Contracts
In addition to the protections guaranteed under the NLRA, our Teamster contracts have taken the protections guaranteed to bus workers even further than what is provided by federal law. As Teamsters, we negotiated Freedom of Association (FOA) agreements with First Student and National Express (parent company of Durham School Services and many other contractors) that guarantee the following:
- managers may not make negative comments about the union to workers
- managers may not publish or post any flyers, posters, or other written materials that attack the union
- managers may not hold a meeting where anti-union messages are distributed to workers
- managers may not tell workers to vote no or otherwise attempt to influence a union election
- managers may not intimidate or harass any workers for supporting the Teamsters
35 Things Your Employer Cannot Do
Have your rights under the NLRA been violated? Take this quiz to find out! For all questions, the options are yes or no. For questions you answer yes to, feel free to explain more in the provided text box.
Do you work at a company with an FOA? Do you have a violation to report? If so, click here.
Have you been the victim of an unfair labor practice during a union organizing campaign? If so, click here.