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Your Right to Join A New Union

 Labor Law

Your Right to Join a New 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."

 

 

The law protects the right of employees to engage in protected concerted activities-group action to improve wages, benefits, and working conditions and to engage in union activities and support a union. You also have a right to not engage in protected concerted or union activities.The statements contained in this smart phone application are intended for users' general information. This application may not be cited as legal authority. Particular statements may be subject to unstated exceptions, qualifications, and/or limitations, and may even be rendered unreliable without prior notice by changes in the law. In addition, although we have sought to provide broad general guidance, we do not claim completeness. In other words, you may be subject to prohibitions under the National Labor Relations Act that are not set forth here. The National Labor Relations Board expressly disclaims any purpose or intent to furnish legal advice. You may contact your nearest regional Board office and/or an attorney to discuss your specific situation or to learn more about your rights and obligations under the NLRA.

A Closer Look at SPFPA's Election Losses

Concerted Activity

You have the right to act with co-workers 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, openly talking about your pay and benefits, and joining with co-workers 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. 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. However, you can lose protection by saying or doing something 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

Whether or not you are represented by a union, federal law gives you the right to join together with coworkers to improve your lives at work - including joining together in cyberspace, such as on Facebook.

Federal law protects your right to engage in not only union activity, but also "protected concerted" activity. You have the right to address work-related issues and share information about pay, benefits, and working conditions with co-workers and with a union. You have the right to take action with one or more co-workers to improve your working conditions by, among other means, raising work-related complaints directly with your employer or with a government agency, or seeking help to form a union. 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. Such activity is not protected if you say things about your employer that are egregiously offensive or knowingly and deliberately false, or if you publicly disparage your employer's products or services without relating your complaints to any labor controversy.

Decertification election

 

Have a union, but don't want it anymore, or want a different one?

Under certain circumstances, you can vote out or "decertify" your union, or replace it with a different union. At least 30% of your coworkers must sign cards or a petition asking the NLRB to conduct an election. Unless a majority of the votes cast in the election are in favor of union representation, the union will be decertified. Such elections are barred, however, for one year following the union's certification by the NLRB. Plus, if your employer and union reach a collective-bargaining agreement, you cannot ask for a decertification election (or an election to bring in another union) during the first three years of that agreement, except during a 30-day "window period." That period begins 90 days and ends 60 days before the agreement expires (120 and 90 days if your employer is a healthcare institution). After a collective-bargaining agreement passes the three-year mark or expires, you may ask for an election to decertify your union or to vote in another union at any time.

Interfering with employee rights (Section 7 & 8(a)(1))

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.

       Find out more about your rights by visiting the NLRB website.

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The Law Enforcement Officers Security Unions (LEOSU) is a full service labor organization formed to provide every labor related service from negotiations, grievance processing, legal and legislative representation.

 

The Law Enforcement Officers Security Unions (LEOSU)  mission is to serve as a voice for law enforcement officers and security professionals in the New York, New Jersey,  Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Washington DC Region and the Northeast region to their employers. Thousands of law enforcement officers and security professionals provide a fundamental protective service to federal agencies as contractors. These bargaining unit employees need to have their workplace concerns and interests represented to their employer with passion, integrity, and fairness.  LEOSU delivers a comprehensive employee and labor relations program that will provide high quality service to officers by representing their interests and negotiating with the employer for results that create a better workplace.  Our union  is  characterized by three core values: personalized service, transparency, and results.