Your Rights as a Worker
The National Labor Relations Act extends rights to most private-sector employees, including the right to organize and bargain collectively with your employer. Employees covered by the Act are protected from certain types of employer misconduct, and have the right to form a union where none currently exists.
Under the NLRA, you have the right to:
Attend meetings to discuss joining a union.
Read, distribute and discuss union literature (as long as you do this in non-work areas, during non-work times; such as breaks or lunch hours).
Wear union buttons, T-shirts, stickers, hats or other items on the job at most worksites.
Sign a card asking your employer to recognize and bargain with the union.
Sign petitions or file grievances related to wages, hours, working conditions and other job issues.
Ask other employees to support the union, to sign union cards or petitions or to file grievances.
Under the NLRA, your employer cannot:
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 plant or business operation if employees select a union to represent them.
Question 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.
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.
The National Labor Relations Act also protects employees' rights to engage in protected concerted activities, with or without a union, which are usually group activities (two or more employees acting together) attempting to improve working conditions, such as wages and benefits. Some examples of such activities include:
two or more employees addressing their employer about improving their working conditions and pay;
one employee speaking to his/her employer on behalf of him/herself and one or more co-workers about improving workplace conditions;
two or more employees discussing pay or other work-related issues with each other;
The NLRA also protects any individual employee's right to engage in union support, membership, and activities
By Deb Rigiero, RN
MNA Labor Organizer
Have you heard or seen the commercials about kids and drugs? My favorite is the commercial where the dog talks to the young girl about smoking pot. I also like the one on the radio when the kids are stopped by the police and you can hear the bottles rolling around. The question posed by these commercials is who do you want to be the one to talk to your children about drugs? Well, my question to you is who do you want to talk to your children about unions? Unlike drug education, there is no union education in the classrooms. If we hadn’t talked to our kids about the union then my oldest son’s first union lesson would have come from his first job.
In that job, during orientation, they mentioned that there was no need for a union because they were one big happy family and they didn’t need a third party getting involved. It was even in the handbook they issued him.
I have actually heard people say that unions are passé. We needed them in the past, but not today. We have become complacent in our work environment. Unions have had to fight against the boss whose goal is to get the most work for the least amount of money to maximize the profits for the company.
Unions have fought for and won benefits that include:
An Eight-Hour Workday
A 40-Hour Work Week
Child Labor Laws
Unions are still struggling against corporations. Many of the benefits we enjoy under our contracts are under attack. Take a minute to think about where you would be without your union and your contract. Who is going to tell your children about what it means to be in a union? Who is going to teach your child that an injury to one is an injury to all? Are my grandchildren going to know what it means to work an eight-hour day, get paid overtime and work in a safe environment? Our children are the next generation of workers (unless they own a company). Allowing management to teach our children about unions is like allowing drug dealers to teach our children about drugs. So I ask you, who do you want to be the first one to talk to your children about unions?
Tom Wall is our Marketing Representative and Organizer. Tom has been a member of Local 6 in good standing for 16 years. Tom is a great advocate for the Heat and Frost Insulators and is a dedicated servant in advancing Local 6’s cause of advocating for all who labor.
Tom is currently Local 6's Vice President and sits as a Union Trustee and Annuity Trustee. We are excited with the progress Tom is making to bring those working in the industry into our Insulators Local 6 family. United We Bargain, Divided We Beg!