Monday, August 07, 2006

Unfair Labor Practices of Employers

The unfair labor practices of employers are listed in Section 8(a) of the Act; those of labor organizations in Section 8(b). Section 8(e) lists an unfair labor practice that can be committed only by an employer and a labor organization acting together. The "Types of Cases" chart at pages 18-19 may be helpful in getting to know the relationship between the various unfair labor practice sections of the Act.
Section 8(a)(1)--Interference with Section 7 Rights. Section 8(a)(1) forbids an employer "to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in section 7." Any prohibited interference by an employer with the rights of employees to organize, to form, join, or assist a labor organization, to bargain collectively, to engage in other concerted activities for mutual aid or protection, or to refrain from any or all of these activities, constitutes a violation of this section. This is a broad prohibition on employer interference, and an employer violates this section whenever it commits any of the other employer unfair labor practices. In consequence, whenever a violation of Section 8(a)(2), (3), (4), or (5) is committed a violation of Section 8(a)(1) is also found. This is called a "derivative violation" of Section 8(a)(1).
Examples of violations of Section 8(a)(1). Employer conduct may, of course, independently violate Section 8(a)(1). Examples of such independent violations are:
Threatening employees with loss of jobs or benefits if they should join or vote for a union.
Threatening to close down the plant if a union should be organized in it.
Questioning employees about their union activities or membership in such circumstances as will tend to restrain or coerce the employees.
Spying on union gatherings, or pretending to spy.
Granting wage increases deliberately timed to discourage employees from forming or joining a union.

The National Labor Board Website


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