Under the National Labor Relations Act most private employees have the right to come together to improve work conditions or join a formal union. Employees in Texas have these rights even though Texas is a “right to work” state. Employers may not interfere with the right to participate in a union, petition co-workers to join a union, or the right of employees to cooperate to improve their conditions without joining a formal union. When employers violate employee rights under the NLRB, employees are entitled to remedies under the law. Reaching these remedies can be challenging because they often involve administrative as well as judicial processes as well as complex federal law. Working with an labor lawyer can be critical to succeeding through this legal maze.
Your right to unionize your workplace
Federal law protects your rights to join or form a union in your workplace. You have the right to bring an established union to your workplace through an election. That includes the right to advertise the union and solicit support from your co-workers. Your employer can limit certain activities in the workplace to prevent disrupting work but cannot completely eliminate any discussion of union activity or interfere with your solicitation or support for the union. Your employer is allowed to speak negatively about the union and state its position that it believes a union would not help the employees. However, your employer cannot state outright or imply that bringing a union into the workplace would result in losing jobs or firing people to scare them from voting for union representation.
Right to cooperate to improve your job
In addition to supporting or joining an established union you also have the right to discuss work conditions with your co-workers and take steps collectively to improve work conditions and terms of employment, such as scheduling, pay, benefits and job duties. Your employer may not take any negative action against you or your job for discussing your job and work conditions with your co-workers. For example, that means your employer may not take corrective action or fire you for sharing your pay rate with co-workers. Your right to discuss work conditions with co-workers is not limited to the employer’s business location. Your rights are protected away from work and online through social media.
Remedies when employers violate these rights
If your employer interferes with these rights you are entitled to certain remedies under the law. You can obtain court orders and administrative orders that order your employer to respect your rights. If your employer takes severe action that affects your pay or benefits, especially in the case of termination, you have the right to request reinstatement to your job or compensation for lost pay and benefits.
The Kielich Law Firm can also represent you in a labor arbitration under a union contract. For more information about arbitration, visit the arbitration & mediation page.
How The Kielich Law Firm can help
If your employer has violated your protected rights to work together with your co-workers to improve your work conditions, you have options available to protect your job and compensation. I can represent you in protecting these rights. Contact my office today to discuss your case.