What are unfair labor practices? These are practices by employers and unions that are illegal under labor laws, such as the federal National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRA provides that employees can join together for the purpose of negotiating with the employer for better work conditions. The NLRA sets forth rules whereby collective bargaining and union elections can take place.
Examples of Unfair Labor Practices
There are numerous actions by employers that the NLRA considers unfair labor practices. An employer commits an unfair labor practice if it interferes with your right to join, organize, or help a union, your right to be involved in collective bargaining, or your right to be involved in protected concerted activities with other employees. For example, an employer cannot enact workplace rules that prohibit talk related to the union or workplace grievances if only this type of talk, unrelated to the work at hand, is prohibited.
It is also an unfair labor practice for employers to create their own sham union for the purpose of interfering with the activity of a labor organization. When considering whether an employer has created a sham union, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will look closely at all of the facts, including who began the group, whether the employer had a role in organizing this group or determining how it would work, and whether managers attend meetings and influence or set the agenda of the union.
Discrimination and Retaliation
It is also considered an unfair labor practice for an employer to discriminate against employees in order to discourage them from belonging to or participating in a labor organization, or conversely pressuring them to join. An employer should not retaliate against you because you filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board or gave testimony before the National Labor Relations Board.
Bad Faith in Collective Bargaining
It is also an unfair labor practice for an employer to refuse to be involved in good-faith collective bargaining. Employers are supposed to negotiate with a union before making alterations to wages, hours, or working conditions of a bargaining union unless the union prevents the agreement from being reached or there are economic exigencies requiring speedy action. They are supposed to meet with unions at reasonable times and should not modify any collective bargaining agreement without union consent.
Hot Cargo Agreements
Under the NLRA, a hot cargo agreement is an unfair labor practice. This is an agreement between an employer and a union in which the employer agrees that it will stop doing business with another party with which the union has a problem or controversy.
A union may also commit unfair labor practices by violating rights provided by statute. The Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute guards federal employees' collective bargaining, participation, and organizing rights, and a union that violates any of these rights may commit an unfair labor practice. For example, a union would commit an unfair labor practice if it refused to process a grievance because an employee in the bargaining unit is not a union member. For another example, it would commit an unfair labor practice if it refused to negotiate in good faith.