Employers and unions that engage in conduct that is prohibited by the National Labor Relations Act or other labor laws commit unfair labor practices. These rules may apply to interactions between the union and the employer. They might also apply to individual workers who are treated unfairly by a union or an employer. If you have been treated unfairly, the employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler may be able to help.
Unfair labor practices
Under the NLRA, employees have the right to join together so that they might be able to improve the conditions and terms of their employment. They may do this by joining or forming unions. The NLRA has established rules for collective bargaining and union elections. It also forbids unions and employers from interfering with the employees’ rights. Interference by unions or employers is deemed to be an unfair labor practice.
Under the NLRA, employers are prohibited from the following actions:
- Interfering with your right to assist, join or organize a union;
- Interfering with your right to engage in collective bargaining;
- Interfering with your right to engage in concerted and protected activities;
- Providing illegal support to a labor union;
- Discriminating against employees to discourage or encourage their membership in a union;
- Retaliating against you for filing a charge with the NLRB;
- Refusing to engage in collective bargaining in good faith;
- Making hot cargo agreements with a union
Unions may be found to have engaged in unfair labor practices if they engage in any of the following types of conduct:
- Coercing employees to exercise their rights to not support the union
- Restraining employees from choosing their own bargaining representatives
- Causing employers to discriminate against employees in order to encourage or discourage their membership in unions
- Not engaging in good-faith collective bargaining
- Engaging in boycotts or strikes for an illegal purpose
- Charging excessive membership dues
- Trying to secure agreements for employers to pay for work that wasn’t performed
Unions that are not certified to represent the workers may not picket an employer to force it to bargain with the union. They also may not try to force the workers to accept them as their representatives if the following apply:
- The workers are already represented by a different union;
- There was a valid representation election within the past year; or
- The union does not file an election petition with the NLRB.
If you believe that a union or your employer has engaged in an unfair labor practice, you may file a complaint with the NLRB. A charge must be filed no later than six months of when the incident occurred. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler may be able to advise you about how to file a charge with the NLRB.