Employee Rights During a Union Organizing Election

Rights of Employees

You are entitled by federal law to vote your free choice in a fair, honest, secret-ballot election to determine whether employees want union representation.

The National Labor Relations Board is the agency of the United States Government which protects that right as well as other important rights guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.

Under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, employees have the right:

  • To self-organization.
  • To form, join, or assist labor organizations.
  • To bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing.
  • To act together for the purposes of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.
  • To refuse to do any or all of these things.

The National Labor Relations Board wants all eligible voters to be familiar with their rights under the law and wants both employers and unions to know what is expected of them when it holds an election.

When an election is held, the Board protects your right to a free choice under the law. Improper conduct will not be permitted. We expect all parties to Board elections to cooperate fully with this Agency in maintaining basic principles of a fair election as expressed by law. The National Labor Relations Board as an agent of the United States Government does not endorse any choice in the election.

Protection of Your Rights

The Board applies rules to keep its election fair and honest. If agents of either unions or employers interfere with your right to a free, fair, and honest election, the election can be set aside by the Board. Where appropriate the Board provides other remedies, such as reinstatement for employees fired for exercising their rights, including back pay from the party responsible for their discharge.

The following are examples of conduct which interfere with the rights of employees and may result in the setting aside of the election:

  • Threatening loss of jobs or benefits by an employer or a union.
  • Promising or granting promotions, pay raises, or other benefits, to influence an employee’s vote by a party capable of carrying out such promises.
  • An employer firing employees to discourage or encourage union activity or a union causing them to be fired to encourage union activity.
  • Making campaign speeches to assembled groups of employees on company time within the 24-hour period before the election.
  • Incitement by either an employer or a union of racial or religious prejudice by inflammatory appeals.
  • Threatening physical force or violence to employees by a union or an employer to influence their votes.

The National Labor Relations Board protects your right to a fair election and a free choice. You can reach the National Labor Relations Board by calling (404) 331-2896 or through their website http://www.nlrb.gov with any questions or concerns.

What Supervisors or Management Officials CANNOT Do

  • Attend any union meeting, park across the street, or engage in any undercover activity to determine who is participating in the union.
  • Tell employees that the company will fire or punish them if they engage in union activity.
  • Lay off, discharge, or discipline any employee for union activity.
  • Grant employees wage increases, special concessions, or benefits in order to keep the union out.
  • Bar employees from soliciting employees on or off the company property during non-working hours, this includes lunch & break.
  • Ask employees about union matters, meetings, etc.
  • Ask employees what they think about the union.
  • Ask employees how they intend to vote.
  • Threaten employees with reprisal for participating in union activities.
  • Promise benefits to employees if they reject the union.
  • Announce that the company will not deal with the union.
  • Threaten to close, in fact close, or move the business to avoid dealing with the union.
  • Ask employees if they have signed a card for the union.
  • Ask an employee during the hiring interview about the union or how s/he feels about unions.
  • Make distinctions between union and non-union employees when assigning overtime work or desirable work.
  • Choose employees to be laid off to weaken the union’s strength.
  • Discriminate against union people when disciplining employees.
  • Fail to grant a scheduled benefit or wage increase because of union activity.
  • Deviate from company policy for the purpose of getting rid of a union supporter.
  • Take action that adversely affects an employee’s job or pay rate because of union activity.
  • Threaten workers or coerce them in an attempt to influence their vote.
  • Threaten a worker through a third party.
  • Promise employees a reward or future benefit if they decide “No Union.”
  • Tell employees overtime work will be discontinued if the plant is unionized.
  • Say unionization will force the company to lay off employees.
  • Say unionization will do away with benefits and privileges presently in effect.
  • Promise employees promotions, raises, or other benefits if they vote no.
  • Urge employees to try to induce others to oppose the union or keep it out.

Any of the above acts constitutes a violation of the law, which protects your right to organize a union!

Please report these acts, if committed, to the local union office immediately. Call (800) 428-2972.