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WHAT IS THE NLRB?
The National Labor Relations Board is an independent Federal agency created in 1935 by Congress to administer the National Labor Relations Act, the basic law governing relations between labor unions and the employers whose operations affect interstate commerce.
The statute guarantees the right of employees to organize and to bargain collectively with their employers or to refrain from all such activity. Generally applying to all employers involved in interstate commerce—other than airlines, railroads, agriculture, and Government—the Act implements the national labor policy of assuring free choice and encouraging collective bargaining as a means of maintaining industrial peace.
Through the years, Congress has amended the Act and the Board and courts have developed a body of law drawn from the statute. This pamphlet is intended to give a brief explanation of the Act to employees, employers, unions, and the public.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
In its statutory assignment, the NLRB has two principal functions: (1) to determine, through secret-ballot elections, the free democratic choice by employees as to whether or not they wish to be represented by a union in dealing with their employers and, if so, by which union; and (2) to prevent and remedy unlawful acts, called unfair labor practices, by either employers or unions.
The Act's election provisions provide the authority for conducting representation elections, which determine the views of the employees regarding representation by a labor union. Its unfair labor practice provisions place certain restrictions on actions of both employers and labor organizations in their relations with employees, as well as with each other.
The Agency does not act on its own motion in either function. It processes only those charges of unfair labor practices and petitions for employee elections which are filed with the NLRB in one of its Regional, Subregional, or Resident Offices. (Please see reverse side for locations of these offices.) The staff in these offices is available to assist the public with inquiries concerning the Act and to provide appropriate forms and other technical assistance to those who wish to file charges or petitions.
WHAT DOES THE ACT PROVIDE?
The Act sets forth the basic rights of employees as follows:
· To self-organization.
· To form, join, or assist labor organizations.
· To bargain collectively about wages and working conditions through representatives of their own choosing.
· To engage in other protected "concerted activities," that is, to act together for purposes of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or
· To refrain from any of these activities. (However, a union and employer may, in a State where such agreements are permitted, enter into a lawful union-security clause.)
The Act prohibits both employers and unions from violating these employee rights. As an example, an employer may not discriminate against employees with regard to hiring, discharge, or working conditions because of their union activities. A union may not engage in acts of violence against employees who refrain from union activity. These examples are for illustration only. For further information about employer and union unfair labor practices, please refer to "The National Labor Relations Board and You—Unfair Labor Practices," available from your nearest NLRB office. A related publication, "The National Labor Relations Board and You—Representation Cases," describes the election process in more detail.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT Also cited NLRA or the Act; 29 U.S.C. Sec. Sec. 151-169[Title 29, Chapter 7, Subchapter II, United States Code] findings and policies Section 1. [Sec. 151.] The denial by some employers of the right of employees to organize and the refusal by some employers to accept the procedure of collective bargaining lead to strikes and other forms of industrial strife or unrest, which have the intent or the necessary effect of burdening or obstructing commerce by (a) impairing the efficiency, safety, or operation of the instrumentalities of commerce; (b) occurring in the current of commerce; (c) materially affecting, restraining, or controlling the flow of raw materials or manufactured or processed goods from or into the channels of commerce, or the prices of such materials or goods in commerce; or (d) causing diminution of employment and wages in such volume as substantially to impair or disrupt the market for goods flowing from or into the channels of commerce. The inequality of bargaining power between employees who do not possess full freedom of association or actual liberty of contract and employers who are organized in the corporate or other forms of ownership association substantially burdens and affects the flow of commerce, and tends to aggravate recurrent business depressions, by depressing wage rates and the purchasing power of wage earners in industry and by preventing the stabilization of competitive wage rates and working conditions within and between industries. Experience has proved that protection by law of the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively safeguards commerce from injury, impairment, or interruption, and promotes the flow of commerce by removing certain recognized sources of industrial strife and unrest, by encouraging practices fundamental to the friendly adjustment of industrial disputes arising out of differences as to wages, hours, orother working conditions, and by restoring equality of bargaining power between employers and employees. Experience has further demonstrated that certain practices by some labor organizations, their officers, and members have the intent or the necessary effect of burdening or obstructing commerce by preventing the free flow of goods in such commerce through strikes and other forms of industrial unrest or through concerted activities which impair the interest of the public in the free flow of such commerce. The elimination of such practices is a necessary condition to the assurance of the rights herein guaranteed. It is declared to be the policy of the United States to eliminate the causes of certain substantial obstructions to the free flow of commerce and to mitigate and eliminate these obstructions when they have occurred 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 or other mutual aid or protection.
All information on this page has been secured form the NLRB's website. For further information on your rights to organize a union or to refrain form these actions, please visit the NLRB's website via the link provided below or call them using the contact information below
National Labor Relations Board
Federal Office Building, Room 3003
550 Main Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-3271
Regional Director: Richard L. Ahearn
Hours: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Phone: (513) 684-3686
Fax: (513) 684-3946
THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD
Main Office: Franklin Court Building, Suite 55301099
14th Street, NW Washington, DC 20570-0001
Telephone: (202) 208-3000