In 1935, Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act. This Act was instrumental to the American Labor Movement because it gave private-sector employees the right to organize a union without repercussions from their employer.
Section 7 – Rights of Employees
Section 7 “Rights of Employees” states the following:
“Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection…”
—The National Labor Relations Act, nlrb.gov
In other words, it is your legal right to support unions, form a union, and/or advocate for a union in your workplace. You have the right to:
- Fill out a Representation Card
- Ask your coworkers to sign Representation Cards
- Talk about the union to coworkers
- Attend union meetings
- Wear union buttons/pins
- Pass out union leaflets, flyers, and other literature
Section 8 – Unfair Labor Practices
Next, Section 8 of the National Labor Relations Act, “Unfair Labor Practices,” states that employers cannot punish you in any way for union activity. Legally, your employer cannot:
- Threaten to fire, suspend, transfer, or punish you in any way for union activity — PERIOD.
- Favor employees who do not support the union.
- Threaten to shut down your workplace.
- Take away the privileges or benefits you currently enjoy.
- Promise to reward any employee who opposes the union (with a pay increase, promotion, etc).
Read Section 8 of the National Labor Relations Act in its entirety on the National Labor Relations Board’s website.
Remember: it is your legal right to join a union!