Can I Be Fired for Trying to Form a Union at My Workplace?

Probably the biggest question on everyone’s mind when they look in to forming a union at their workplace is “Can I Be Fired?”  The fact is, you have a federally protected right in America guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act to join or support a union and to engage in collective bargaining.  Under this Act workers have the right to:

* Attend meetings to discuss joining a union.
* Read, distribute and discuss union literature as long as it’s done in non-work areas during non-work times, such as breaks or lunch hours.
* Sign a card asking your employer to recognize and bargain with the union.
* Sign petitions or file grievances related to wages, hours, working conditions, or other job issues.
* Ask other employees to support the union, to sign union cards or petitions or to file grievances.


Your employer must respect your rights under the National Labor Relations Act or a charge known as an Unfair Labor Practice can be filed against them with the National Labor Relations Board.  Once a charge is filed, the Board will investigate the charge and order appropriate restitution if they find a violation of the Act has been committed.  Under the National Labor Relations Act it is illegal for the employer to engage in the following activities:

* Threaten employees with loss of jobs or benefits if they join or vote for a union or engage in protected concerted activity.
* Threaten to close the shop if employees vote in a union.
* Question employees about their union support or activities.
* Promise benefits to employees to discourage their union support.
* Transfer,  lay-off,  terminate or assign employees more difficult work tasks because they engaged in union or protected concerted activity.


However, history has shown that some employers will break this law and violate workers’ rights due to ignorance of the law or because they willingly put the companies interests above workers’ rights.  In these cases, we will prosecute the employer to the fullest extent of the law.  But an old adage also rings true when dealing with this issue, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” meaning we encourage everyone to exercise their rights but not so blatantly as to make themselves a target of the employer.  For this reason, we put the highest priority on confidentiality of workers who do their part to help form a union at their workplace.

All conversations we have with you will not be disclosed to anyone else unless you give us permission to do so. We also recommend only doing what you’re comfortable with and discuss forming a union only with co-workers you trust. If there are co-workers you feel would be in support, but you aren’t comfortable approaching them, let us know and we will make contact and get them some information.


 
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