The National Labor Relations Act.
The National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA") outlines the rights of every worker in the United States to organize "for purposes of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment". Note that undocumented workers and non-citizen workers are also covered by the NLRA. Below are some of the specific rights workers have under the NLRA.
- "Talking Union" and Soliciting Union Cards
Workers have the right, as a general rule, to campaign for the union and solicit union cards during non-work time. If workers are allowed to have casual conversations about non-work topics during work, then they are also allowed to talk about the union during work. The right to solicit for the union applies to wearing union buttons and insignia.
- Distributing Union Literature
Workers have the right to distribute union literature during non-work time in non-work areas, such as break rooms and cafeterias.
Employers may not spy on union activities, or create the impression of surveillance.
Employers may not interrogate workers about their union sympathies if the worker wants to keep his or her opinions private.
Employers may not threaten workers with retaliation for union activity. It is unlawful to threaten to take away benefits or close a facility to punish workers for organizing.
Employers are prohibited from discriminating against workers in any way because of their union sympathies or activities. This includes suspensions, discharges, transfers, or demotions.
If an employer violates the NLRA, this is called an "unfair labor practice". The union or an individual can file a charge with the National Labor Relations Board when such a violation occurs.
This text comes from Virginia Diamond's "Organizing Guide for Local Unions