• Organizing- The Law and You
    Updated On: Mar 02, 2017

    It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States to eliminate the causes of certain substantial obstructions to the free flow of commerce . . . 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 or other mutual aid or protection.

    "Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection."

    The language above is quoted from the National Labor Relations Act, as amended. The United States Congress passed this law to protect you. The purpose of this booklet is to acquaint you with your rights under that law as determined by the Supreme Court, the Federal Courts and the National Labor Relations Board. Read it carefully. You will find that you are protected in many ways when you join the Teamsters. It will explain why your employer violates the law if he should fire you, discipline you, or threaten you in any way because you want to join. You enjoy these rights as a citizen. But, as a member of the Teamsters you have the strongest Union in the USA to help you enforce these rights.

    The law protects you from discharge or discipline because of your interest in the Teamsters. Section 8 (a) (3) of the Act makes it unlawful for your employer to discriminate against you in regard to tenure or any other condition of employment in order to discourage your interest in the Teamsters.

    If your employer takes away your seniority, lays you off, reduces your wages, or discriminate against you in any other way because of your union activities, the law will protect you. It will require him to restore your position and make him pay you for any damages, including lost wages, which you suffered. If an employee is fired because of his interest in or activities on behalf of the Teamsters, the law will make the employer reinstate him with all rights and with full back pay. Every year the National Labor Board orders employers to pay millions of dollars in back pay.

    Furthermore, your employer can't tell you that he won't abide the order of the Labor Board. The Federal Courts enforce these orders of the Board for you. The courts have held employers in contempt of court for refusing to comply with these orders. In one case, rather than just fining the employer for such refusal, the court put the president of the company in jail until he complied.

    Section (8) (a) (1) of the National Labor Relations Act provides that an employer cannot interfere with, restrain or coerce you in the exercise of your rights under the Act.

    Because of this provision your employer cannot threaten to fire you, lay you off, suspend you or close down his business, or make any other threats because of your interests in the Teamsters. If your employer does threaten you, remember it is unlawful for him to do so and the law will protect you. You are not alone. Your employer may promise you benefits such as an increase in wages in order to keep the union out. Do NOT believe him. Only a contract obtained through collective bargaining can obligate an Employer to pay an increase. Without a contract he is not obligated to give an increase and can cancel any increase he may give to any time. There are many other things that this section of the Act makes unlawful. The employer cannot call you into his office and question you about the union. He cannot spy on your meetings or ask you what went on, or who was there. This is not all that this section makes unlawful, but these things should give you an idea of the type of conduct, which the law forbids.

    The law provides that you have a right to organize. In fact, it is the policy of the United States to offer you every protection if you are even considering organizing. Your employer cannot interfere with your choice of the Teamsters. The Act specifically provides that he cannot dominate a labor organization. This means that he cannot sponsor a company or rival union. He cannot ask you to sign a petition for or against any union. If you refuse to sign such a petition, he cannot take any action against you. There are two main methods by which labor unions are chosen to represent employees. If a majority of the employees indicate (usually by signing authorization cards) that they want the Teamsters to represent them, the employer can voluntarily recognize the Teamsters. The other method is to have the National Labor Relations Board conduct an election. If a majority of the employees vote for the Teamsters, then the Teamsters are certified as the bargaining agent for all the employees. And the important thing is that every election conducted by the Labor Board is by secret ballot. No one, not your employer, your fellow employees, or even the union, will know how you voted. Your choice to have the Teamsters represent you is entirely up to you. The law guarantees it.

    Throughout this booklet we have outlined a few of the ways in which the law protects you because of your interest in and activities on behalf of the Teamsters. If you hide the light of your interest under a bushel, the employer can claim that he wasn't even aware of your union activities. This makes it more difficult for the law to protect you. Then it is up to you to prove that any discrimination was because of your interest in the union. But, if you are very open about your interest in the Teamsters, if you talk about it on your work breaks, wear a Teamster button, attend the union meetings, and help to get your fellow employees signed up, then your employer cannot say that he was not aware of your union activities.

    Belonging to the Teamsters is something of which you can be justly proud. Over 2,000,000 men and women doing all types of work; office workers, plant workers, truck drivers, warehousemen, service employees, mechanics, airline employees, nurses and many others belong to the Teamsters and enjoy the benefits that only a strong union can obtain. Openly sharing your interest in the Teamsters benefits you and your fellow employees, and it makes it much easier for the law to protect you.

    Remember, the United States Government stands 
    behind you when you join the Teamsters!

    Yes, You Have RIGHTS!

    If you are called into a meeting with any management representative and have reason to believe that disciplinary action may result, read them your Weingarten Rights.

    If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions; I respectfully request that my Union representative or Steward be present at this meeting. Without representation, I choose not to answer any questions.

    In 1975, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in the WEINGARTEN decision that an employee is entitled to have a Union representative present during any interview, which may result in his or her discipline. It is up to YOU to insist on Union representation. If you fail to do so, you may waive your rights.

    Do The Following:1. Ask your supervisor if you might be disciplined as a result of the interview. If he says "NO," ask for a written statement to that effect. If he gives you such statement, you must participate in the interview. If not, read him your Weingarten rights, remain for the meeting, take notes, and afterwards immediately contact your Union representative.2. If he says you might be disciplined but will not allow you to have a Union representative present, read him your Weingarten rights, stay in the room, take notes, and do not respond to any questions. Afterwards, contact your Union representative immediately. If he allows your Union representative to be present, you should participate in the interview.

  • Teamsters Local 385

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