National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and other labor laws clearly mention the kind of actions (by employers or unions) that will qualify for unfair labor practices. Some of these rules dictate what the interactions between the employer and the union should be whereas the rests safeguard the workers from unfair treatment by either both sides – the employer and the union. In this article, we will shed light on some most common unfair labor practices.

How to Define Unfair Labor Practices?

Under the NLRA, the employees are entitled to the rights to act in unison for the improvement of terms and conditions of their employers, by forming or joining a union or acting otherwise. The NLRA formulates the rules for collective bargains, union elections and other aspects.

The NLRA prohibits both employers and unions from resorting to certain actions that would encroach upon the employees’ rights or interfere with the fine balance that NLRA establishes between union and employees. These illegal actions are called “Unfair Labor Practices”.

Unfair Labor Practices by Employers

The NLRA law prohibits the employers from

  • Interfering with the employees’ right to form, organize, assist or join a union; engage in protected, concerted actions or collective bargaining.
  • Providing illegal assistance or support to a labor union. Employers may not form their own union (a sham or company union), or interfere with or dominate any labor organization. To figure out if an employer unfairly controls or tries to control a certain workplace group, the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) considers all facts, including who formed the group, whether the employer had any role in organizing the group or deciding its course of action, whether the management attends the group’s meeting or otherwise creates the agenda, the group’s objective and influences the decision taken by the group.
  • Exercising discrimination against employees to encourage or discourage their membership in a labor organization or firing the workers who joined a strike to protest an unfair labor practice.
  • Retaliating against an employee if he or she filed a charge with or gave testimony to the NLRB
  • Refusing to be a part of good-faith collective bargaining
  • Engaging in a hot cargo agreement with a labor union. It is a kind of agreement that involves an arrangement between an employer and a labor union, in which the employer pledges to discontinue business with another employer, usually one the union has a dispute with.

Unfair Labor Practices by Unions

The NLRA prohibits unions from:

  • Interfering with the employees’ rights, by coercing or restraining, not to support a union
  • Interfering with the employer’s choice of a bargaining representative (for example, by insisting on talking to only a particular manager or refusing to meet or bargain with the employer-chosen representative)
  • Causing or making efforts to cause an employer to discriminate against any employee with an intention of encouraging or discouraging union membership
  • Refusing to take part in good-faith collective bargaining
  • Engaging in boycotts, strikes or other coercive means for any illegal purpose
  • Charging discriminatory or excessive membership fees.

Labor law is an encompassing a subject. You should talk to a labor law attorney if you think your rights are threatened or violated by an employer or a labor union.

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