Organizing Center

Your rights to join a union


The National Labor Relations Act gives you the right to organize a union in your workplace. Under the National Labor Relations Act, you have a right to:

• Attend meetings to discuss joining a union
• Distribute, read and discuss union materials during breaks, lunch and after work
• Wear union buttons, t-shirts, hats and other union paraphenalia
• Sign a union card
• Circulate and sign petitions and union flyers
• Organize other employees to support the union, sign cards, and attend meetings
• Engage in concerted activity

These rights are protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act which gives you the right to join and support a union.

It is illegal for an employer to:

• Fire, threaten to fire, layoff, discipline, harass, transfer, or reassign an employee because they support the union
• Show favor to employees who do not support a union over those who do in hours, promotions, enforcement of rules
• Close or threaten to close your place of employment, or take away benefits or privileges in order to discourage union activity
• Promise employees a pay increase, promotion, benefit or other privileges if they oppose a union
• Ask your opinion of a union
• Ask you if you have signed a union card or talked to a union representative

Under Section 8 of the National Labor Relations Act it is illegal for the employer to commit any of these acts.

The law clearly states:

Section 1: The policy of the United States is to be carried out "by encouraging the practice and procedure of collective bargaining and by protecting the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing, for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment."

Section 2: "Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or bargain collectively through representation of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining."

Section 3: "It shall be an unfair labor practice for an employer . . . to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in Section 7."