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What Are the Different Labor Union Laws?

The 1935 National Labor Relations Act recognized the right for workers to form labor unions.
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  • Written By: Erin Oxendine
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Image By: Kheel Center
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2014
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Labor union laws protect the rights of employees regarding wages, benefits and other work concerns. Unions help negotiate contracts between the employees and their employers. These organizations have established different labor union laws and regulations that are important to the union and the workers.

Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in the United States in 1935 recognizing unions and the employee’s right to be in the organization. This regulation is also known as the Wagner Act, named after US Senator Robert. This law made it against the law to discriminate against a worker who was a labor union member. It also made it illegal for a union organization to coerce any employee to join the union. At the same time, Congress created the National Labor Relations Board to determine if a union was capable of representing a group of workers.

The NLRA law prohibited employers from interfering with a union or workers attempting to create a union. It also made it illegal for companies to stop employees from exercising their rights as a worker. In addition, the NLRA Act made it illegal for a company to refuse to negotiate with a union worker, impose unfair work conditions on a member and discriminate against a union member who filed charges or provided testimony against the employer.

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In 1947, Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Labor Act, better known as the Labor-Management Relations Acts and sponsored by Senators Robert A. Taft and Fred A. Hartley, Jr. The Taft-Hartley Labor Act set up specific labor union laws indicating that employees could legally join or not join a union and companies had to receive notice of workers’ intent to strike. It also made it against the law for union members to carry out a strike that would cause national harm or health concerns. Under this law, it banned union political contributions and made union officials swear that they were not communists.

There are also international labor unions that have labor union laws and guidelines to protect members in other countries. In most countries, the laws also protect the rights of workers and prohibit violence against workers who decide to go on strike. These organizations try to promote social justice and coordinate with the government, employers and employees.

It is important to note that union members are made up of employees from various occupations including teachers, police officers, warehouse workers and actors. The only exception to labor union laws are railway and airline workers. These workers are governed by laws from the Railway Labor Act to avoid massive interruptions in transportation should a dispute arise.

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