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  • Your Right to Join or Form a Security Guard Union is Protected by Law

    Employees have the right to unionize, to join together to advance their interests as employees, and to refrain from such activity. It is unlawful for an employer to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of their rights. For example, employers may not respond to a union organizing drive by threatening, interrogating, or spying on pro-union employees, or by promising benefits if they forget about the union. Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (the Act) guarantees employees "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," as well as the right "to refrain from any or all such activities." Section 8(a)(1) of the Act makes it an unfair labor practice for an employer "to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in Section 7" of the Act. For example, you may not Threaten employees with adverse consequences, such as closing the workplace, loss of benefits, or more onerous working conditions, if they support a union, engage in union activity, or select a union to represent them. Threaten employees with adverse consequences if they engage in protected, concerted activity. (Activity is "concerted" if it is engaged in with or on the authority of other employees, not solely by and on behalf of the employee himself. It includes circumstances where a single employee seeks to initiate, induce, or prepare for group action, as well as where an employee brings a group complaint to the attention of management. Activity is "protected" if it concerns employees' interests as employees. An employee engaged in otherwise protected, concerted activity may lose the Act's protection through misconduct.) Promise employees benefits if they reject the union. Imply a promise of benefits by soliciting grievances from employees during a union organizing campaign. (However, if you regularly solicited employee grievances before the campaign began, you may continue that practice unchanged.) Confer benefits on employees during a union organizing campaign to induce employees to vote against the union. Withhold changes in wages or benefits during a union organizing campaign that would have been made had the union not been on the scene, unless you make clear to employees that the change will occur whether or not they select the union, and that your sole purpose in postponing the change is to avoid any appearance of trying to influence the outcome of the election. Coercively question employees about their own or coworkers' union activities or sympathies. (Whether questioning is coercive and therefore unlawful depends on the relevant circumstances, including who asks the questions, where, and how; what information is sought; whether the questioned employee is an open and active union supporter; and whether the questioning occurs in a context of other unfair labor practices.) Prohibit employees from talking about the union during working time, if you permit them to talk about other non-work-related subjects. Poll your employees to determine the extent of their support for a union, unless you comply with certain safeguards. You must not have engaged in unfair labor practices or otherwise created a coercive atmosphere. In addition, you must (1) communicate to employees that the purpose of the poll is to determine whether the union enjoys majority support (and that must, in truth, be your purpose); (2) give employees assurances against reprisal; and (3) conduct the poll by secret ballot. Spy on employees' union activities. ("Spying" means doing something out of the ordinary to observe the activity. Seeing open union activity in workplace areas frequented by supervisors is not "spying.") Create the impression that you are spying on employees' union activities. Photograph or videotape employees engaged in peaceful union or other protected activities. Solicit individual employees to appear in a campaign video. Promulgate, maintain, or enforce work rules that reasonably tend to inhibit employees from exercising their rights under the Act. Deny off-duty employees access to outside nonworking areas of your property, unless business reasons justify it. Prohibit employees from wearing union buttons, t-shirts, and other union insignia unless special circumstances warrant. Convey the message that selecting a union would be futile. Discipline or discharge a union-represented employee for refusing to submit, without a representative, to an investigatory interview the employee reasonably believes may result in discipline. Interview employees to prepare your defense in an unfair labor practice case, unless you provide certain assurances. You must communicate to the employee the purpose of the questioning, assure him against reprisals, and obtain his voluntary participation. Questioning must occur in a context free from employer hostility to union organization and must not itself be coercive. And questioning must not go beyond what is needful to achieve its legitimate purpose. That is, you may not pry into other union matters, elicit information concerning the employee's subjective state of mind, or otherwise interfere with employee rights under the Act. Initiate, solicit employees to sign, or lend more than minimal support to or approval of a decertification or union-disaffection petition. Discharge, constructively discharge, suspend, layoff, fail to recall from layoff, demote, discipline, or take any other adverse action against employees because of their protected, concerted activities. Source: National Labor Relations Board NLRB

  • What are the Steps in Forming or Joining a Security Guard Union?

    If you wish to form or join a security guard union, the United Federation LEOS-PBA we will explain the steps on how to do this. To start the election process, a petition and associated documents must be filed, preferably electronically, with the nearest NLRB Regional Office showing support for the petition from at least 30% of employees. You may also file a an electronic membership form here. NLRB agents will then investigate to make sure the Board has jurisdiction, the union is qualified, and there are no existing labor contracts or recent elections that would bar an election. Shortly after the petition is filed, the employer is required to post a Notice of Petition for Election in conspicuous places, including all places where notices to employees are customarily posted. If the employer customarily communicates with employees in the petitioned-for unit through electronic means, the employer must also distribute the Notice of Petition for Election electronically to those employees. “Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (the Act) guarantees employees "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 .” The NLRB agents will seek an election agreement between the employer, union, and other parties setting the date, time, and place for balloting, the ballot language(s), the appropriate unit, and a method to determine who is eligible to vote. Once an agreement is reached, the parties authorize the NLRB Regional Director to conduct the election. If no agreement is reached, the Regional Director will hold a hearing and then may order an election and set the conditions in accordance with the Board's rules and its decisions. Typically, elections are held on the earliest practicable date after a Director's order or authorization, which will vary from case to case. However, an election may be postponed if a party requests to block the petition based on charges alleging conduct that would interfere with employee free choice in the election, such as threatening loss of jobs or benefits by an employer or a union, granting promotions, pay raises, or other benefits to influence the vote. When an election is scheduled, the Employer is required to post a Notice of Election which will replace the previously posted Notice of Petition for Election. When a union is already in place, a competing union may file an election petition if the labor contract has expired or is about to expire, and it can show interest by at least 30% of the employees. This would normally result in a three-way election, with the choices being the incumbent labor union, the challenging one, and "none." If none of the three receives a majority vote, a runoff will be conducted between the top two vote-getters. Elections to certify a union as the bargaining representative of a unit of employees are decided by a majority of votes cast. Observers from all parties may choose to be present when ballots are counted. Any party may file objections and an offer of proof in support of its objections with the appropriate Regional Director within 7 days of the vote count. In turn, except where the parties have agreed otherwise, the Regional Director's ruling on objections may be appealed to the Board in Washington. Results of an election will be set aside if conduct by the employer or the union created an atmosphere of confusion or fear of reprisals and thus interfered with the employees' freedom of choice. Otherwise, a union that receives a majority of the votes cast is certified as the employees' bargaining representative and is entitled to be recognized by the employer as the exclusive bargaining agent for the employees in the unit. Failure to bargain with the union at this point is an unfair labor practice. Alternate path to union representation In addition to NLRB-conducted elections, federal law provides employees a second path to choose a representative: They may persuade an employer to voluntarily recognize a union after showing majority support by signed authorization cards or other means. These agreements are made outside the NLRB process. If a union is voluntarily recognized, its status as bargaining representative cannot be challenged during a reasonable period for bargaining, which the Board defines as not less than six months (and not more than one year) after the parties’ first bargaining session. In other words, during that reasonable period, the employer cannot withdraw recognition, and the Board will not process a petition for an election to remove the union or replace it with a different union. However, for the election-petition bar to apply, the employer and/or union must first notify a Board Regional Office that voluntary recognition has been granted; the employer must post and distribute to employees a notice informing employees that recognition has been granted and that they have a right to file a petition during a 45-day period beginning on the date the notice is posted; and no properly supported petition is filed within those 45 days. Office of Representation Appeals Reviews of election-related decisions, including dismissals of petitions and pre-election decisions by Regional Directors, are handled by the Office of Representation Appeals in Washington, D.C. Requests for review c an be filed at any time up to 14 days after a certification of representation or the results of an election or a dismissal of the petition. Each case is assigned to an attorney and a supervisor for a review of the case, which is then presented to the Board. The Board may deny review or grant review of the decision. If the Board grants review, the parties may file additional briefs on review.

  • Your Right to Discuss Wages

    Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or the Act), employees have the right to communicate with other employees at their workplace about their wages. Wages are a vital term and condition of employment, and discussions of wages are often preliminary to organizing or other actions for mutual aid or protection. Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or the Act), employees have the right to communicate with other employees at their workplace about their wages. Wages are a vital term and condition of employment, and discussions of wages are often preliminary to organizing or other actions for mutual aid or protection. If you are an employee covered by the Act, you may discuss wages in face-to-face conversations and written messages. When using electronic communications, like social media, keep in mind that your employer may have policies against using their equipment. However, policies that specifically prohibit the discussion of wages are unlawful. You may have discussions about wages when not at work, when you are on break, and even during work if employees are permitted to have other non-work conversations. You have these rights whether or not you are represented by a union. Protected conversations about wages may take on many forms, including having conversations about how much you and your colleagues and managers make, presenting joint requests concerning pay to your employer; organizing a union to raise your wages; approaching an outside union for help in bargaining with your employer over pay; and approaching the National Labor Relations Board for more information on your rights under the NLRA. In addition, you have the right to discuss and engage in outside activity with other employees concerning public issues that clearly may affect your wages – for example, minimum wage or right-to-work laws. You may also discuss supporting employees who work elsewhere. “Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or the Act), employees have the right to communicate with other employees at their workplace about their wages. Wages are a vital term and condition of employment, and discussions of wages are often preliminary to organizing or other actions for mutual aid or protection. ” You also have the right not to engage in conversations or communications about your wages. When you and another employee have a conversation or communication about your pay, it is unlawful for your employer to punish or retaliate against you in any way for having that conversation. It is also unlawful for your employer to interrogate you about the conversation, threaten you for having it, or put you under surveillance for such conversations. Additionally, it is unlawful for the employer to have a work rule, policy, or hiring agreement that prohibits employees from discussing their wages with each other or that requires you to get the employer’s permission to have such discussions. If your employer does any of these things, a charge may be filed against the employer with the NLRB. If you have any questions about your rights under the National Labor Relations Act, please call us at 1-844-762-6572.

  • Employees Right to Join a Security Guard Union or any Type of Union

    Employee Rights Employees covered by the National Labor Relations Act are afforded certain rights to join together to improve their wages and working conditions, with or without a union. Union Activity Employees have the right to attempt to form a union where none currently exists, or to decertify a union that has lost the support of employees. Examples of employee rights include: Forming, or attempting to form, a union in your workplace; Joining a union whether the union is recognized by your employer or not; Assisting a union in organizing your fellow employees; Refusing to do any or all of these things. To be fairly represented by a union Employees Rights “ Employees covered by the National Labor Relations Act are afforded certain rights to join together to improve their wages and working conditions, with or without a union.” Activity Outside a Union Employees who are not represented by a union also have rights under the NLRA. Specifically, the National Labor Relations Board protects the rights of employees to engage in “concerted activity”, which is when two or more employees take action for their mutual aid or protection regarding terms and conditions of employment. A single employee may also engage in protected concerted activity if he or she is acting on the authority of other employees, bringing group complaints to the employer’s attention, trying to induce group action, or seeking to prepare for group action. A few examples of protected concerted activities are: Two or more employees addressing their employer about improving their pay. Two or more employees discussing work-related issues beyond pay, such as safety concerns, with each other. An employee speaking to an employer on behalf of one or more co-workers about improving workplace conditions. Who is covered? Most employees in the private sector are covered by the NLRA. However, the Act specifically excludes individuals who are: employed by Federal, state, or local government employed as agricultural laborers employed in the domestic service of any person or family in a home employed by a parent or spouse employed as an independent contractor employed as a supervisor (supervisors who have been discriminated against for refusing to violate the NLRA may be covered) employed by an employer subject to the Railway Labor Act, such as railroads and airlines employed by any other person who is not an employer as defined in the NLRA

  • Your Rights during Union Organizing

    Your Rights during Union Organizing You have the right to form, join or assist a union. You have the right to organize a union to negotiate with your employer over your terms and conditions of employment. This includes your right to distribute union literature, wear union buttons t-shirts, or other insignia (except in unusual "special circumstances"), solicit coworkers to sign union authorization cards, and discuss the union with coworkers. Supervisors and managers cannot spy on you (or make it appear that they are doing so), coercively question you, threaten you or bribe you regarding your union activity or the union activities of your co-workers. You can't be fired, disciplined, demoted, or penalized in any way for engaging in these activities. Working time is for work, so your employer may maintain and enforce non-discriminatory rules limiting solicitation and distribution, except that your employer cannot prohibit you from talking about or soliciting for a union during non-work time, such as before or after work or during break times; or from distributing union literature during non-work time, in non-work areas, such as parking lots or break rooms. Also, restrictions on your efforts to communicate with co-workers cannot be discriminatory. For example, your employer cannot prohibit you from talking about the union during working time if it permits you to talk about other non-work-related matters during working time. Your Right to Form a Union Not represented by a union, but want to be? If a majority of workers wants to form a union, they can select a union in one of two ways: If at least 30% of workers sign cards or a petition saying they want a union, the NLRB will conduct an election. If a majority of those who vote choose the union, the NLRB will certify the union as your representative for collective bargaining. An election is not the only way a union can become your representative. Your employer may voluntarily recognize a union based on evidence - typically signed union-authorization cards - that a majority of employees want it to represent them. Once a union has been certified or recognized, the employer is required to bargain over your terms and conditions of employment with your union representative. Special rules apply in the construction industry. Right to refrain Federal law protects your right to decline to participate in union organizing or concerted activity, and to campaign against a union during an organizing campaign. Strikes, Pickets and Protest All employees - union or not - have the right to participate in a protected strike, picket or protest. You have a right to strike, picket, and protest regarding work-related issues, but there are limitations and qualifications on the exercise of that right. Your right to engage in these activities depends on the object or purpose of the action, on its timing, or on the conduct of those involved. (For more about unprotected strikes, see the "I am represented by a union" and "union rights and responsibilities" sections of this app.) Violence or other serious misconduct, such as destruction of property, is not protected. Concerted activity Federal law protects employees engaged in union activity, but that's only part of the story. Even if you're not represented by a union - even if you have zero interest in having a union - the National Labor Relations Act protects your right to band together with coworkers to improve your lives at work. You have the right to act with coworkers to address work-related issues in many ways. Examples include: talking with one or more co-workers about your wages and benefits or other working conditions, circulating a petition asking for better hours, participating in a concerted refusal to work in unsafe conditions, and joining with coworkers to talk directly to your employer, to a government agency, or to the media about problems in your workplace. Your employer cannot discharge, discipline, or threaten you for, or coercively question you about, this "protected concerted" activity. However, you can lose protection by saying things about your employer that are egregiously offensive or knowingly and maliciously false, or by publicly disparaging your employer's products or services without relating your complaints to any labor controversy. Social media Even if you are not represented by a union, federal law gives you the right to band together with coworkers to improve your lives at work - including joining together in cyberspace, such as on Facebook. Using social media can be a form of "protected concerted" activity. You have the right to address work-related issues and share information about pay, benefits, and working conditions with coworkers on Facebook, YouTube, and other social media. But just individually griping about some aspect of work is not "concerted activity": what you say must have some relation to group action, or seek to initiate, induce, or prepare for group action, or bring a group complaint to the attention of management. How to Enforce Your Rights If you believe your rights or the rights of others have been violated, you should contact the National Labor Relations Board promptly to protect your rights, generally within six months of the unlawful activity. You may make inquiries of the NLRB without your employer or a union, or anyone else being informed of the inquiry. A charge against an employer or union must be filed to initiate an investigation; charges may be filed by any person and need not be filed by the employee directly affected by the violations. Employees should seek assistance from the nearest Regional NLRB office, which can be found by clicking "Contact NLRB" above. It is illegal for an employer or union to retaliate against employees for filing charges or participating in NLRB investigation or proceedings. If the NLRB determines that your rights have been violated by an employer or a union, you may be awarded appropriate remedial relief. For example, if an employer has unlawfully fired an employee, the NLRB may order the employer to rehire the employee and to pay the employee lost wages and benefits. Likewise, if a union's unlawful conduct has caused an employee to lose a job, the NLRB may order the union to seek the employee's reinstatement and to make the employee whole financially. In all cases, the NLRB seeks to undo as much as possible the effects of whatever unlawful conduct has occurred, including by ordering the employer or union to stop violating the law and to post a remedial notice informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

  • Employer/Union Rights and Obligations

    The National Labor Relations Act forbids employers from interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of rights relating to organizing, forming, joining or assisting a labor organization for collective bargaining purposes, or from working together to improve terms and conditions of employment, or refraining from any such activity. Similarly, labor organizations may not restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of these rights. Examples of employer conduct that violates the law: Threatening employees with loss of jobs or benefits if they join or vote for a union or engage in protected concerted activity. Threatening to close the plant if employees select a union to represent them. Questioning employees about their union sympathies or activities in circumstances that tend to interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of their rights under the Act. Promising benefits to employees to discourage their union support. Transferring, laying off, terminating, assigning employees more difficult work tasks, or otherwise punishing employees because they engaged in union or protected concerted activity Transferring, laying off, terminating, assigning employees more difficult work tasks, or otherwise punishing employees because they filed unfair labor practice charges or participated in an investigation conducted by NLRB. “The National Labor Relations Act forbids employers from interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of rights relating to organizing, forming, joining or assisting a labor organization for collective bargaining purposes, or from working together to improve terms and conditions of employment, or refraining from any such activity. Similarly, labor organizations may not restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of these rights.” Examples of labor organization conduct that violates the law: Threats to employees that they will lose their jobs unless they support the union. Seeking the suspension, discharge or other punishment of an employee for not being a union member even if the employee has paid or offered to pay a lawful initiation fee and periodic fees thereafter. Refusing to process a grievance because an employee has criticized union officials or because an employee is not a member of the union in states where union security clauses are not permitted. Fining employees who have validly resigned from the union for engaging in protected concerted activities following their resignation or for crossing an unlawful picket line. Engaging in picket line misconduct, such as threatening, assaulting, or barring non-strikers from the employer's premises. Striking over issues unrelated to employment terms and conditions or coercively enmeshing neutrals into a labor dispute. What rules govern collective bargaining for a contract? After employees choose a union as a bargaining representative, the employer and union are required to meet at reasonable times to bargain in good faith about wages, hours, vacation time, insurance, safety practices and other mandatory subjects. Some managerial decisions such as subcontracting, relocation, and other operational changes may not be mandatory subjects of bargaining, but the employer must bargain about the decision's effects on unit employees. It is an unfair labor practice for either party to refuse to bargain collectively with the other, but parties are not compelled to reach agreement or make concessions. If after sufficient good faith efforts, no agreement can be reached, the employer may declare impasse, and then implement the last offer presented to the union. However, the union may disagree that true impasse has been reached and file a charge of an unfair labor practice for failure to bargain in good faith. The NLRB will determine whether true impasse was reached based on the history of negotiations and the understandings of both parties. If the Agency finds that impasse was not reached, the employer will be asked to return to the bargaining table. In an extreme case, the NLRB may seek a federal court order to force the employer to bargain. The parties' obligations do not end when the contract expires. They must bargain in good faith for a successor contract, or for the termination of the agreement, while terms of the expired contract continue. A party wishing to end the contract must notify the other party in writing 60 days before the expiration date, or 60 days before the proposed termination. The party must offer to meet and confer with the other party and notify the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service of the existence of a dispute if no agreement has been reached by that time. How is "good faith" bargaining determined? There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of NLRB cases dealing with the issue of the duty to bargain in good faith. In determining whether a party is bargaining in good faith, the Board will look at the totality of the circumstances. The duty to bargain in good faith is an obligation to participate actively in the deliberations so as to indicate a present intention to find a basis for agreement. This implies both an open mind and a sincere desire to reach an agreement as well as a sincere effort to reach a common ground. The additional requirement to bargain in "good faith" was incorporated to ensure that a party did not come to the bargaining table and simply go through the motions. There are objective criteria that the NLRB will review to determine if the parties are honoring their obligation to bargain in good faith, such as whether the party is willing to meet at reasonable times and intervals and whether the party is represented by someone who has the authority to make decisions at the table. Conduct away from the bargaining table may also be relevant. For instance if an Employer were to make a unilateral change in the terms and conditions of employees employment without bargaining, that would be an indication of bad faith.

  • What are the Steps in Forming a Security Guard Union?

    Before we explain how to join or form a security guard / security officer or Law Enforcement Security Union like the United Federation LEOS-PBA you must first ask yourself what is a union? A union is an organized group of workers who collectively use their strength to have a voice in their workplace. Through a union, workers have a right to impact wages, work hours, benefits, workplace health and safety, job training and other work-related issues. What is an Association? A group of people, workers, security guards, security officers, security police ect, organized for a joint purpose. A union unlike an association normally seeks collective bargaining rights at a specific work location and/or company vs. an association which organizes for a joint purpose and is made up of many individual security guards within the security industry working for many different companies and/or possessing a security guard license if such states require one. Steps to Create a Union Where You Work As noted above a union is simply an employee organization—protected by law—where a group of workers joins together to improve and guarantee their wages, benefits and working conditions. A union also gives employees a way to achieve respect and fairness on the job and a stronger voice to impact employer decisions. Without a union, employers have 100% control. By joining together you will have far more power to make positive changes and gain protections in your workplace than you would alone or with a just a few co-workers. Although work settings and issues vary, you can count on these 5 Basic Steps to create a union where you work. Are you ready to get started? STEP 1: Know Your Legal Rights Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA") in 1935 to protect 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. Under the National Labor Relations Act Employees are granted certain rights. RIGHTS OF EMPLOYEES Sec. 7. [§ 157.] 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, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all of such activities except to the extent that such right may be affected by an agreement requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment as authorized in section 8(a)(3) [section 158(a)(3) of this title]. As part of your Section 7 Rights You have a legal right to: Join a union. Attend meetings during non-work time to discuss joining a union. Talk about the union whenever other non-work talk is allowed. Sign a card or petition to show support for a union. Talk to a union organizer. Declare yourself a union supporter. Assist in forming a union. Ask other employees to support the union, to sign cards or petitions requesting your employer to recognize and bargain with your union. Read and distribute union literature as long as you do this in non-work areas during non-work times such as breaks, lunch hours or before or after work Employers are forbidden by law to engage in certain conduct. Your employer may NOT legally: Threaten you with discharge or punishment if you engage in union activity. Threaten to shut down business if workers form a union. Prevent you from soliciting members during non-working hours. Question you about union matters, union meetings, or union supporters. Ask how you or other workers intend to vote in an election. Ask whether you belong to a union or have signed up to join a union. Transfer or assign you to a less desirable work assignment because of your union activity. Threaten to terminate your benefits because you unionize. Threaten a layoff or loss of jobs in retaliation for voting for a union. STEP 2: Gather Information Next you’ll want to gather information about where you work. What are the issues facing your co-workers? Any common themes? For example, is there a need for pay equity or to end unfair treatment? Do other co-workers share your interest in exploring the idea of a union? Who in your workplace will be willing to lead the charge? Are there particular security officers that your co-officers listen to or follow? Who amongst your co-officers can you trust and who do you think would run back to management? These are just some of the questions you’ll need to answer. A United Federation LEOS-PBA organizer can help provide the resources you’ll need to lay a good foundation to build a strong union and we will be there for you every step of the way. STEP 3: Build Your Own Union Efforts to form a security union vary depending on the workplace but the United Federation LEOS-PBA believes the most successful way to create a union workplace is for security officers to take charge of the process themselves. The United Federation LEOS-PBA organizing team will help you create a plan that makes sense for you and your co-officers. You’ll want to create a representative group of co-workers, usually called an “Organizing Committee” to make sure your efforts to form a security union succeed. The Organizing Committee educates fellow security officers about the benefits of unionizing and your rights under the law, motivates co-officers to take action with confidence, and helps plan a winning strategy. Tips on Encouraging Co-workers to Action Listen: Find out what issues are important to your co-officers. You know what’s important to you, but find out what’s important to them. Is there a recurring theme? Ask questions and don’t assume you know the answers. Give Co-Officers a Reason to Be Involved: Co-Officers will get involved if they believe their issues are at stake and they can really make a difference. Nobody comes to a meeting? Start smaller with 1:1 conversations or small group meetings. Try incorporating food or social activity and make it fun. Start with a smaller challenge to achieve a unity building victory. Be Honest: If you don’t know an answer to a question, admit it—but find out the answer and get back to the person quickly. This can be easily done by contacting the LEOSU organizing department You’ll be respected for your involvement to member concerns. Push Your Co-workers Harder: It’s easy to take on tasks yourself, harder to organize others to take action. A good workplace activist gets as many people involved as possible doing as much as possible. But you need to ask. It’s not enough to bug people to be more active. You need to ask them to do specific assignments…until it becomes natural to take on more without being asked. Don’t push so hard though that your co-workers avoid you! Know when to stop and try another tactic. Stay Positive and Provide Hope: Making people feel good about getting involved encourages them to stay involved and encourages other people to join them. Complaining about co-officers who “won’t do anything” doesn’t help. Management will attempt to make unionizing seem futile. You need to provide the hope that conditions can change. Publicize Victories: By letting co-workers know early on the issues a union will fight for, you’re in a better position to take credit for improvements management will try to make during the campaign. “If we got a better health plan by just talking about the union, imagine what we can do with a contract in place.” Defend Each Other: If a co-worker is treated unfairly, try to unite everyone to defend the person, even if he or she isn’t a union supporter. Maybe it’s time to start a petition or take some other kind of group action to show your employer you’re united. But don’t just complain—organize to act in a unified way. STEP 4: Make Your Union “Official” Once you’re able to show strong majority support for creating a union, usually through the signing of “authorization” cards or a petition, the next step is to make your union official. There are different ways to do this depending on your type of workplace. One common way is to request the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which is a neutral government agency, to hold a secret ballot election. Depending on the state, public employees may have their own state agency conduct an election. Another way to gain official union recognition is to have your employer voluntarily recognize your union. The United Federation LEOS-PBA organizing staff can help you decide which method might be best for your situation. At this point, you may be asking, “What will my employer say to workers forming a union?” The typical employer will say you don’t need a union because he/she will not want to give up any control or power. You and your co-workers need to be prepared for what to expect when your employer learns about your steps to form a union. Click here for information on your Rights to Join a Security Union. Click here to get more information on Union Busting Tactics and what to Expect from your employer once you decide to join or form a security union. STEP 5: Win a Strong United Federation LEOS-PBA Union Contract Efforts to create a union don’t stop after you win recognition. The next step—winning a fair contract— is just as important. Once your security union is officially certified, your employer will be legally required to negotiate in good faith with your union to obtain a written, legally binding contract covering all aspects of your employment. You and your co-workers will elect a negotiating team and decide what changes and improvements you want to propose to your employer. Acceptance of the final agreement will be voted on by you. You can count on the United Federation LEOS-PBA Directors to provide support every step of the way. Management and Union Rights and Obligaions in Collective Bargaining Labor and Employment Law Seminar Private Sector Bargaining ​ Federal Labor Laws The Duty to Bargain

  • The NLRB and Social Media

    The National Labor Relations Act protects the rights of employees to act together to address conditions at work, with or without a union. This protection extends to certain work-related conversations conducted on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. The National Labor Relations Act protects the rights of employees to act together to address conditions at work, with or without a union. This protection extends to certain work-related conversations conducted on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. In 2010, the National Labor Relations Board, an independent federal agency that enforces the Act, began receiving charges in its regional offices related to employer social media policies and to specific instances of discipline for Facebook postings. Following investigations, the agency found reasonable cause to believe that some policies and disciplinary actions violated federal labor law, and the NLRB Office of General Counsel issued complaints against employers alleging unlawful conduct. In other cases, investigations found that the communications were not protected and so disciplinary actions did not violate the Act. General Counsel memos To ensure consistent enforcement actions, and in response to requests from employers for guidance in this developing area, Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon released three memos in 2011 and 2012 detailing the results of investigations in dozens of social media cases. The first report, issued on August 18, 2011, described 14 cases. In four cases involving employees’ use of Facebook, the Office of General Counsel found that the employees were engaged in "protected concerted activity" because they were discussing terms and conditions of employment with fellow employees. In five other cases involving Facebook or Twitter posts, the activity was found to be unprotected. In one case, it was determined that a union engaged in unlawful coercive conduct when it videotaped interviews with employees at a nonunion jobsite about their immigration status and posted an edited version on YouTube and the Local Union’s Facebook page. In five cases, some provisions of employers’ social media policies were found to be overly-broad. A final case involved an employer’s lawful policy restricting its employees’ contact with the media. The second report, issued Jan 25, 2012, also looked at 14 cases, half of which involved questions about employer policies. Five of those policies were found to be unlawfully broad, one was lawful, and one was found to be lawful after it was revised. The remaining cases involved discharges of employees after they posted comments to Facebook. Several discharges were found to be unlawful because they flowed from unlawful policies. But in one case, the discharge was upheld despite an unlawful policy because the employee’s posting was not work-related. The report underscored two main points regarding the NLRB and social media: Employer policies should not be so sweeping that they prohibit the kinds of activity protected by federal labor law, such as the discussion of wages or working conditions among employees. An employee’s comments on social media are generally not protected if they are mere gripes not made in relation to group activity among employees. The third report, issued May 30, 2012, examined seven employer policies governing the use of social media by employees. In six cases, the General Counsel’s office found some provisions of the employer’s social media policy to be lawful and others to be unlawful. In the seventh case, the entire policy was found to be lawful. Provisions were found to be unlawful when they interfered with the rights of employees under the National Labor Relations Act, such as the right to discuss wages and working conditions with co-workers. Some of the early social media cases were settled by agreement between the parties. Others proceeded to trial before the agency’s Administrative Law Judges. Several parties then appealed those decisions to the Board in Washington D.C. NLRB Board decisions In the fall of 2012, the Board began to issue decisions in cases involving discipline for social media postings. Board decisions are significant because they establish precedent in novel cases such as these. In the first such decision, issued on September 28, 2012, the Board found that the firing of a BMW salesman for photos and comments posted to his Facebook page did not violate federal labor law. The question came down to whether the salesman was fired exclusively for posting photos of an embarrassing accident at an adjacent Land Rover dealership, which did not involve fellow employees, or for posting mocking comments and photos with co-workers about serving hot dogs at a luxury BMW car event. Both sets of photos were posted to Facebook on the same day; a week later, the salesman was fired. The Board agreed with the Administrative Law Judge that the salesman was fired solely for the photos he posted of a Land Rover incident, which was not concerted activity and so was not protected. In the second decision, issued December 14, 2012, the Board found that it was unlawful for a non-profit organization to fire five employees who participated in Facebook postings about a coworker who intended to complain to management about their work performance. In its analysis, the Board majority applied settled Board law to social media and found that the Facebook conversation was concerted activity and was protected by the National Labor Relations Act.

  • Fact Sheet: Retaliation Based on Exercise of Workplace Rights Is Unlawful

    Federal agencies responsible for enforcing workers' rights seek to protect all workers from exploitation and violations, regardless of immigration status. Many workers, however, are deterred or prevented from asserting workplace rights for fear of retaliation. In some cases, employers may exploit immigration status to discourage workers from asserting their rights. U.S. laws generally prohibit employers from retaliating against workers for exercising their workplace rights, regardless of the workers' immigration status. Fact Sheet: Retaliation Based on Exercise of Workplace Rights Is Unlawful Federal agencies responsible for enforcing workers' rights seek to protect all workers from exploitation and violations, regardless of immigration status. Many workers, however, are deterred or prevented from asserting workplace rights for fear of retaliation. In some cases, employers may exploit immigration status to discourage workers from asserting their rights. U.S. laws generally prohibit employers from retaliating against workers for exercising their workplace rights, regardless of the workers' immigration status. Effective enforcement of labor and employment laws requires that the enforcement process be insulated from inappropriate manipulation by parties who seek to prevent workers from exercising their rights or retaliate against them when they do. This fact sheet clarifies that retaliation against workers who assert workplace rights is unlawful, regardless of the workers' immigration status. Retaliation Under the Fair Labor Standards Act The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage and overtime protections for many workers in America, and it is enforced by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. The FLSA also prohibits retaliation against any person who has filed a complaint with the Department or an employer (orally or in writing) or cooperated in an FLSA investigation. Protecting workers from retaliation and ensuring that they do not face threats or intimidation for exercising their rights is an important priority for the Wage and Hour Division. Workers who lack work authorization are entitled to minimum wages and overtime pay for hours worked under the FLSA to the same extent as other workers. It is unlawful for an employer to terminate or in any other manner discriminate against workers in retaliation for asserting minimum wage or overtime claims (which can include pay issues such as deductions or tips) or cooperating with an FLSA investigation. These protections apply regardless of immigration status. For example, it would be unlawful for an employer to report an undocumented worker to immigration authorities in retaliation for filing a wage claim. Some remedies for retaliation violations may be limited for workers without work authorization. For additional information, please see Wage and Hour Division Fact Sheet # 77A: Prohibiting Retaliation Under the FLSA or visit the Wage and Hour Division website: http://www.wagehour.dol.gov. To file a complaint regarding wage violations or retaliation call the toll-free information and helpline, available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in your time zone, 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243). Language services are available and calls are confidential. Retaliation Under Laws Enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor enforces workplace safety and health standards and regulations and other worker rights under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act. The OSH Act prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the OSH Act. These rights include filing an OSHA complaint, participating in an inspection or talking to an inspector, seeking access to employer exposure and injury records, reporting an injury, and raising a safety or health complaint with the employer. It is unlawful for an employer to terminate workers in retaliation for asserting OSH Act claims or cooperating with an OSHA investigation, regardless of immigration status. In addition, OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of 21 other laws protecting employees who report violations related to environmental and nuclear safety, transportation industry, as well as consumer and investor protections. Workers who lack work authorization are protected under the anti-retaliation provisions enforced by OSHA, although there may be some limits on remedies available to them. For additional information, please visit the OSHA website: http://www.whistleblowers.gov (also available in Spanish). To file a complaint regarding workplace safety, please visit: http://www.osha.gov/pls/osha7/eComplaintForm.html (also available in Spanish at http://www.osha.gov/pls/osha7/ecomplaintform_sp.html); to file a complaint regarding retaliation please visit: http://www.whistleblowers.gov/complaint_page.html (also available in Spanish). Retaliation by Federal Contractors Under Equal Employment Opportunity Laws Enforced by the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) enforces laws prohibiting employment discrimination by federal contractors (companies doing business with the federal Government) on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and related medical conditions), gender identity (including transgender status), sexual orientation, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. All of these OFCCP-enforced laws make it illegal to fire, demote, harass, or otherwise retaliate against people (applicants, employees, or former employees) because they filed complaints of discrimination with OFCCP, because they complained to their employers or others about discrimination on the job, or because they participated in any activity related to the administration of the laws enforced by OFCCP (such as a complaint investigation or contractor compliance evaluation) or in any activity related to the administration of any other law federal, state or local law requiring equal employment opportunity. Unlawful retaliation under OFCCP-enforced laws may include any conduct that might well deter a reasonable worker from complaining of discrimination. These laws apply to every person, regardless of his or her immigration status, although some remedies may be limited for workers without work authorization. For additional information, please visit the OFCCP website: http://www.dol.gov/ofccp or call the toll-free Help Desk line at 1-800-397-6251. To file a complaint of discrimination or retaliation, complete the complaint form, available in several languages, on the OFCCP website. Retaliation Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces laws prohibiting employment discrimination by employers, employment agencies, or labor unions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and related medical conditions, gender identity (including transgender status) and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. All of these EEOC- enforced laws make it illegal to fire, demote, harass, or otherwise retaliate against people (applicants, employees, or former employees) because they filed charges of discrimination with EEOC, because they complained to their employers or other covered entities about discrimination on the job, or because they participated in employment discrimination proceedings (such as an investigation or lawsuit). Unlawful retaliation under EEOC-enforced laws may include any conduct that might well deter a reasonable worker from complaining of discrimination. These laws apply to every person, regardless of his or her immigration status, although some remedies may be limited for workers without work authorization. For additional information, please visit the EEOC website: http://www.eeoc.gov. To file a charge of discrimination or retaliation you should contact your nearest EEOC office or call 1-800-669-4000. In addition you can complete an online assessment at http://www.eeoc.gov/employees/howtofile.cfm. Retaliation Under the National Labor Relations Act The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) enforces the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which protects the rights of most private-sector workers to form, join, decertify, or assist a labor organization (union), and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, or to refrain from such activities. Employees may also join together to improve terms and conditions of employment without a union. The law forbids employers from interfering with employees in the exercise of rights to form, join or assist a labor organization for collective bargaining, or from working together to improve terms and conditions of employment, or refraining from any such activity. Similarly, labor organizations may not interfere with employees in the exercise of these rights. Workers who lack work authorization are covered by the protections of the NLRA, including protection against retaliation. However, reinstatement and backpay are not available as legal remedies for employees who do not have work authorization. See section below, Are Workers Who Lack Work Authorization Entitled to Backpay? For additional information, please visit the NLRB website: https://www.nlrb.gov/. To file a charge regarding violations or retaliation against an employer or labor organization, you have a number of options. You may call the toll-free information line at 1-866 667-NLRB (6572), which will transfer you to a local NLRB field office. You may also visit a local NLRB field office during its regular business hours or mail a charge to a local NLRB field office. You can find a NLRB field office directory with contact information and hours of operation at https://www.nlrb.gov/about-nlrb/who-we-are/regional-offices, and charge forms at https://www.nlrb.gov/guidance/fillable-forms. You may also e-file a charge through the NLRB's website at https://apps.nlrb.gov/eservice/efileterm.aspx?app=chargeandpetition Retaliation Under the Immigration and Nationality Act and Certain Nonimmigrant Visa Programs The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice enforces the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This provision prohibits employers from discriminating in hiring, firing, or recruiting or referring for a fee based on citizenship or immigration status; discriminating in hiring, firing, or recruiting or referring for a fee based on national origin by employers that fall outside of the EEOC's jurisdiction; discriminating in the process of verifying a worker's employment eligibility (the Form I-9 and E-Verify processes) based on national origin or citizenship status; and retaliation or intimidation against individuals who file charges with OSC, cooperate with an OSC investigation, contest action that may violate the law, or assert rights on behalf of themselves or others under the INA's anti-discrimination provision. For additional information, call OSC's Worker Hotline at 1-800-255-7688, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern (TTY for the hearing impaired: 1-800-237-2515). Callers can remain anonymous and language services are available. You can also visit http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc for more information on OSC and the law it enforces. For information on filing a charge, visit http://www.justice.gov/crt/filing-charge. The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division enforces the worker protections in the H-1B (high skilled temporary workers), H-2A (temporary agricultural workers), and H-2B (temporary non-agricultural workers) nonimmigrant visa programs. Employers of H-2A workers and H-2B workers generally may not intimidate, threaten, restrain, coerce, blacklist, discharge, or discriminate in any manner against any person who has filed a complaint, testified or is about to testify in a proceeding, consulted with an attorney or legal assistance program, or exercised or asserted any right or protection under these programs or the INA on behalf of himself/herself or others. Employers may not retaliate or discriminate against H-1B workers who disclose violations or cooperate in proceedings concerning the employer's compliance with the program. To file a complaint regarding retaliation in nonimmigrant visa programs, call the toll-free information and helpline, available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in your time zone, 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243). Language services are available and calls are confidential. Are Workers Who Lack Work Authorization Entitled to Backpay? "Backpay" generally includes two categories of wages: (a) wages earned for work performed, and (b) wages awarded for work that would have been performed if the worker had not been unlawfully fired. Workers who lack work authorization always have the right to the first category of backpay, or those wages they have earned for work performed, as well as certain other remedies as appropriate under labor and employment laws. There are some limits on the second category of backpay, or wages for workers who lack work authorization with regard to work that has not been performed. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB, 535 U.S. 137 (2002), that the NLRB could not award backpay to an unauthorized worker who had been unlawfully discharged in retaliation for his involvement in a union organizing campaign for work that would have been performed if the worker had not been unlawfully fired. By contrast, if a work-authorized worker is unlawfully fired, that worker generally can be awarded backpay for work that would have been performed if the worker had not been fired. A worker is always entitled to pay for work actually performed, regardless of immigration status. For additional information about remedies, please see: NLRB General Counsel Memoranda: GC 15-03 Updated Procedures in Addressing Immigration Status Issues that Arise During Unfair Labor Practice Proceedings GC 98-15 Reinstatement and Backpay Remedies for Discriminatees Who May Be Undocumented Aliens In Light of Recent Board and Court Remedies GC 02-06 Procedures and Remedies for Discriminatees Who May Be Undocumented Aliens after Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division Fact Sheet #48: Application of U.S. Labor Laws to Immigrant Workers: Effect of Hoffman Plastics decision on laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division

  • Weingarten Rights

    The Right to Request Representation During an Investigatory Interview Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects employees’ 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 and protection” he Right to Request Representation During an Investigatory Interview Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects employees’ 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 and protection” Among the rights protected by Section 7 is the right of union-represented employees, upon request, to have their representative present during an interview that the employee reasonably believes could lead to discipline. This right was first articulated by the Supreme Court in the case, NLRB v. J. Weingarten, Inc. In that case, the Court found that Section 7 of the NLRA protects employees who refuse to submit to certain interviews without a requested representative present. An employee’s requested representative, which may be a union steward, business agent or officer, or fellow employee, is often referred to as a “Weingarten representative.” Weingarten representatives are entitled to provide advice and active assistance to employees during investigatory interviews. Employees’ right to request their representatives are frequently referred to as “Weingarten rights.” Employers violate the NLRA if they proceed with an investigatory interview while refusing an employee’s request or retaliate against them for making the request. Depending on the circumstances of each case, the Board may order that the employer cease and desist, post a remedial notice, require the employer to repeat the interview with a union member present, or rescind and remedy discipline resulting from a Weingarten violation. When do employees have a right to request a union representative? An employee’s right to request a representative arises during an investigatory interview. A useful comparison is an individual’s Miranda right to an attorney when questioned by law enforcement. However, unlike the right to counsel in a Miranda setting, employers are not required to inform union members of their rights under Weingarten. Any meeting may be an “investigatory interview” provided that the following occurs: A manager, representative of management, or supervisor is seeking to question an employee. The questioning is part of an investigation into the employee’s performance or work conduct. During an investigatory interview, a representative of management may require an employee to defend, explain, or admit misconduct or work performance issues that may form the basis for discipline or discharge. The employee reasonably believes that the investigation may result in discharge, discipline, demotion, or other adverse consequence to their job status or working conditions. The employee requests a union representative. Employers are not required to advise employees of their right to representation and third parties (including union representatives) may not make the request on behalf of the employee. When making a request for a representative, the Board does not require that the employee specify that they need a “Weingarten” representative. Once an employee requests their representative, they are not required to repeat that request. At times, it is not clear whether a meeting is investigatory or could lead to discipline. In those cases, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) looks to the conduct of the meeting and the surrounding circumstances to determine if there was an investigatory purpose. The Board will consider such factors as the identity/status of the participants, the parties’ collective-bargaining agreement and disciplinary practices, whether there was a confrontational tone to the meeting, any notices or warnings issued prior to the meeting, or whether employees had been disciplined for similar misconduct. What types of meetings are not covered by the Weingarten rule? If the above conditions are met, any meeting between an employer and employee could trigger an employee’s Weingarten rights. However, not every meeting or employer questioning satisfies those conditions. For example, employers need not grant an employee’s request for a representative in the following situations: Instructional meetings where an employee receives training or correction on work techniques. Meetings of this nature generally do not lead to discipline. Meetings in which an employer informs an employee (or employees) of personnel policies. Often these meetings do not require questioning of employees and do not lead to discipline. Meetings in which the employee is informed in advance that no discipline or adverse employment action will result from the interview. Meetings about disciplinary decisions that have already been made. If an employer has made a final decision on a disciplinary action, a meeting with an employee to inform them of that decision is not considered investigatory. In the same vein, if an employee initiates a meeting to discuss a disciplinary action that they have experienced, that meeting is not investigatory in nature because any discipline that the employee has experienced has already occurred. Meetings in which an employee is questioned as part of an investigation of another employee’s conduct or performance. For example, an employee who witnesses another employee’s misconduct is not entitled to Weingarten representation if they are questioned about what they observed. Even in the above examples, however, the nature of a meeting may change as it progresses. If an employee reasonably believes that a meeting that commenced for some other purpose has become an investigatory interview, the Board will look to the above factors to determine if an employee’s request for a representative should have been honored. Who may serve as an employee Weingarten representative? An employee may choose their own representative, who may be a representative of the union or a fellow employee. Employers are required to honor that request, so long as that choice does not unduly interfere with the employer’s ability to conduct its investigation. Employees may not request a non-employee representative unless that individual is an officer or business agent of the employee’s union. For example, an employee may not request a private attorney or a family member as their Weingarten representative if that individual has no affiliation with the employee’s union. How should an employer respond to an employee’s request for representation? When an employee requests a representative during an investigatory interview, an employer may lawfully take one of three courses of action: The employer may grant the employee’s request and delay the interview until a representative is available. The employer may deny the request and immediately end the interview, or The employer may allow the employee to choose whether to proceed with the meeting without a representative or to end the interview. If the employer denies the request and continues to ask questions, this could constitute an unfair labor practice. Also, it is an unfair labor practice for an employer to discipline an employee for refusing to answer questions without their union representative present. What may a union representative do during an employee interview? Union representatives serve as advisors and witnesses during employee interviews. Employers are required to inform union representatives as to the subject matter of the interview and allow time for that representative to meet with the employee prior to questioning. During the interview, a union representative may ask the employer to clarify questions, give the employee advice on how to answer questions (within limits), and provide additional information to the employer after the questioning. A union representative may also object to questions if they are badgering, intimidating, or offensive. What are the limitations on union representation during an employee interview? When representing an employee during an investigatory interview, a union representative must remain civil and may not interfere with an employer’s legitimate efforts to conduct an investigation. An employer may lawfully remove a union representative from a meeting if they engage in disruptive or hostile behavior. A union representative may not tell an employee what to say and may not advise employees to give false answers.

  • NLRA and the Right to Strike

    The Right to Strike. Section 7 of the Act states in part, “Employees shall have the right. . . to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.” Strikes are included among the concerted activities protected for employees by this section. Section 13 also concerns the right to strike. NLRA and the Right to Strike The Right to Strike. Section 7 of the Act states in part, “Employees shall have the right. . . to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.” Strikes are included among the concerted activities protected for employees by this section. Section 13 also concerns the right to strike. It reads as follows: Nothing in this Act, except as specifically provided for herein, shall be construed so as either to interfere with or impede or diminish in any way the right to strike, or to affect the limitations or qualifications on that right. It is clear from a reading of these two provisions that: the law not only guarantees the right of employees to strike, but also places limitations and qualifications on the exercise of that right. Lawful and unlawful strikes. The lawfulness of a strike may depend on the object, or purpose, of the strike, on its timing, or on the conduct of the strikers. The object, or objects, of a strike and whether the objects are lawful are matters that are not always easy to determine. Such issues often have to be decided by the National Labor Relations Board. The consequences can be severe to striking employees and struck employers, involving as they do questions of reinstatement and backpay. Strikes for a lawful object. Employees who strike for a lawful object fall into two classes: economic strikers and unfair labor practice strikers. Both classes continue as employees, but unfair labor practice strikers have greater rights of reinstatement to their jobs. Economic strikers defined. If the object of a strike is to obtain from the employer some economic concession such as higher wages, shorter hours, or better working conditions, the striking employees are called economic strikers. They retain their status as employees and cannot be discharged, but they can be replaced by their employer. If the employer has hired bona fide permanent replacements who are filling the jobs of the economic strikers when the strikers apply unconditionally to go back to work, the strikers are not entitled to reinstatement at that time. However, if the strikers do not obtain regular and substantially equivalent employment, they are entitled to be recalled to jobs for which they are qualified when openings in such jobs occur if they, or their bargaining representative, have made an unconditional request for their reinstatement. Unfair labor practice strikers defined. Employees who strike to protest an unfair labor practice committed by their employer are called unfair labor practice strikers. Such strikers can be neither discharged nor permanently replaced. When the strike ends, unfair labor practice strikers, absent serious misconduct on their part, are entitled to have their jobs back even if employees hired to do their work have to be discharged. If the Board finds that economic strikers or unfair labor practice strikers who have made an unconditional request for reinstatement have been unlawfully denied reinstatement by their employer, the Board may award such strikers backpay starting at the time they should have been reinstated. Strikes unlawful because of purpose. A strike may be unlawful because an object, or purpose, of the strike is unlawful. A strike in support of a union unfair labor practice, or one that would cause an employer to commit an unfair labor practice, may be a strike for an unlawful object. For example, it is an unfair labor practice for an employer to discharge an employee for failure to make certain lawful payments to the union when there is no union security agreement in effect (Section 8(a)(3)). A strike to compel an employer to do this would be a strike for an unlawful object and, therefore, an unlawful strike. Furthermore, Section 8(b)(4) of the Act prohibits strikes for certain objects even though the objects are not necessarily unlawful if achieved by other means. An example of this would be a strike to compel Employer A to cease doing business with Employer B. It is not unlawful for Employer A voluntarily to stop doing business with Employer B, nor is it unlawful for a union merely to request that it do so. It is, however, unlawful for the union to strike with an object of forcing the employer to do so. In any event, employees who participate in an unlawful strike may be discharged and are not entitled to reinstatement. Strikes unlawful because of timing—Effect of no-strike contract. A strike that violates a no-strike provision of a contract is not protected by the Act, and the striking employees can be discharged or otherwise disciplined, unless the strike is called to protest certain kinds of unfair labor practices committed by the employer. It should be noted that not all refusals to work are considered strikes and thus violations of no-strike provisions. A walkout because of conditions abnormally dangerous to health, such as a defective ventilation system in a spray-painting shop, has been held not to violate a no-strike provision. Same—Strikes at end of contract period. Section 8(d) provides that when either party desires to terminate or change an existing contract, it must comply with certain conditions. If these requirements are not met, a strike to terminate or change a contract is unlawful and participating strikers lose their status as employees of the employer engaged in the labor dispute. If the strike was caused by the unfair labor practice of the employer, however, the strikers are classified as unfair labor practice strikers and their status is not affected by failure to follow the required procedure. Strikes unlawful because of misconduct of strikers. Strikers who engage in serious misconduct in the course of a strike may be refused reinstatement to their former jobs. This applies to both economic strikers and unfair labor practice strikers. Serious misconduct has been held to include, among other things, violence and threats of violence. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a “sitdown” strike, when employees simply stay in the plant and refuse to work, thus depriving the owner of property, is not protected by the law. Examples of serious misconduct that could cause the employees involved to lose their right to reinstatement are: • Strikers physically blocking persons from entering or leaving a struck plant. • Strikers threatening violence against nonstriking employees. • Strikers attacking management representatives. The Right to Picket. Likewise the right to picket is subject to limitations and qualifications. As with the right to strike, picketing can be prohibited because of its object or its timing, or misconduct on the picket line. In addition, Section 8(b)(7) declares it to be an unfair labor practice for a union to picket for certain objects whether the picketing accompanies a strike or not. NOTE: It must be emphasized that this document is only a brief outline. A detailed analysis of the law concerning strikes, and application of the law to all the factual situations that can arise in connection with strikes, is beyond the scope of this material. Employees and employers who anticipate being involved in strike action should proceed cautiously and on the basis of competent advice.

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