Your Right to Organize

Your Right to Organize



Union Activity is Protected by Law
The idea of forming a union can be frightening to people who fear a reaction from their employer. But federal law clearly states that workers have the right to form and join unions. In fact, it is illegal for an employer to take any action against employees for union activity. This means an employer is prohibited from firing or demoting you or otherwise punishing you for supporting a union. It is against the law for an employer to even threaten such action. If an employer fires a worker for union activity, the government can order the employee reinstated with lost back-pay.

Bargaining must proceed in "good faith"

Once a group of workers chooses a union to represent them in collective bargaining, federal law requires the employer to negotiate in "good faith". This means the employer can't just go through the motions of bargaining while having no intent of reaching an agreement. After a contract is approved by the union and the employer, the terms of employment must remain unchanged until a new agreement is reached. The union stands ready to hold employers legaly accountable for any breach of contract.

National Labor Relations Act -- Rights of Employees

Sec. 7 Employees shall have the right to self-organize, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representation of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.

Sec. 8(a) It shall be an unfair labor practice for an employer

(1) to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in Sec. 7.

(3) by discrimination in disregard to hire or tenure of employment or any term or condition of employment to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization.

(4) to discharge or otherwise discriminate against an employee because he has filed charges or given testimony under the act.

The following are a few examples of Unfair Labor Practices

  • Threatening to fire for union activity.
  • Threatening to demote, reprimand, or punish in any way because of union activity.
  • Conducting widespread anti-union interrogation.
  • Threatening to relocate to escape the union.
  • Promising benefits to employees in return for anti-union activities.
  • Interfering with communication among employees or with attempts to organize by such means as unduly restrictive no solicitation rules.
  • Spying on union meetings.
  • Granting benefits or wage increases timed to defeat union activity.
Need more information?
 
If you want more information about a career as a Construction Craft Laborer, please check the Local Union Directory and contact a Laborers' Local Union in your area.

If you are currently employed by a non-union contractor and want information about organizing a union at your workplace, please contact the Wisconsin Laborers' District Council toll free at 1-800-782-4634.