RIGHTS OF EMPLOYEES
Sec. 7. [§ 157.] 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, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all of such activities except to the extent that such right may be affected by an agreement requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment as authorized in section 8(a)(3) [section 158(a)(3) of this title].
Your Right to Form or Join a Security Guard Union
Not represented by a union, but want to be?
If a majority of workers wants to form a union, they can select a union in one of two ways: If at least 30% of workers sign cards or a petition saying they want a union, the NLRB will conduct an election. If a majority of those who vote choose the union, the NLRB will certify the union as your representative for collective bargaining. An election is not the only way a union can become your representative. Your employer may voluntarily recognize a union based on evidence – typically signed union-authorization cards – that a majority of employees want it to represent them. Once a union has been certified or recognized, the employer is required to bargain over your terms and conditions of employment with your union representative.
The law protects the right of employees to engage in protected concerted activities-group action to improve wages, benefits, and working conditions and to engage in union activities and support a union. You also have a right to not engage in protected concerted or union activities.
The statements contained in on this page are intended for users’ general information by the National Labor Relations Board. This application may not be cited as legal authority. Particular statements may be subject to unstated exceptions, qualifications, and/or limitations, and may even be rendered unreliable without prior notice by changes in the law. In addition, although we have sought to provide broad general guidance, we do not claim completeness. In other words, you may be subject to prohibitions under the National Labor Relations Act that are not set forth here. The National Labor Relations Board expressly disclaims any purpose or intent to furnish legal advice. You may contact your nearest regional Board office and/or an attorney to discuss your specific situation or to learn more about your rights and obligations under the NLRA.
How to Enforce Your Rights
If you believe your rights or the rights of others have been violated, you should contact the National Labor Relations Board promptly to protect your rights, generally within six months of the unlawful activity. You may make inquiries of the NLRB without your employer or a union, or anyone else being informed of the inquiry. A charge against an employer or union must be filed to initiate an investigation; charges may be filed by any person and need not be filed by the employee directly affected by the violations. Employees should seek assistance from the nearest Regional NLRB office, which can be found by clicking “Contact NLRB” above. It is illegal for an employer or union to retaliate against employees for filing charges or participating in NLRB investigation or proceedings.
If the NLRB determines that your rights have been violated by an employer or a union, you may be awarded appropriate remedial relief. For example, if an employer has unlawfully fired an employee, the NLRB may order the employer to rehire the employee and to pay the employee lost wages and benefits. Likewise, if a union’s unlawful conduct has caused an employee to lose a job, the NLRB may order the union to seek the employee’s reinstatement and to make the employee whole financially. In all cases, the NLRB seeks to undo as much as possible the effects of whatever unlawful conduct has occurred, including by ordering the employer or union to stop violating the law and to post a remedial notice informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
Are You Covered?
Excluded from coverage under the Act are public-sector employees (employees of state, federal and local governments and their sub-divisions), agricultural and domestic workers, independent contractors, workers employed by a parent or spouse, employees of air and rail carriers covered by the Railway Labor Act, and supervisors (although supervisors that have been discriminated against for refusing to violate the NLRA may be covered).
Security Guards are covered under a special provision noted in the National Labor Relations Act under Section 9(b)(3).
What is 9(b)(3)?
The National Labor Relations Act dictates that, “any individual employed as a guard to enforce against employees and other persons rules to protect property of the employer or to protect the safety of persons on the employer’s premises; but no labor organization shall be certified as the representative of employees in a bargaining unit of guards if such organization admits to membership, or is affiliated directly or indirectly with an organization which admits to membership, employees other than guards”.
Federal law protects employees engaged in union activity, but that’s only part of the story. Even if you’re not represented by a union – even if you have zero interest in having a union – the National Labor Relations Act protects your right to band together with coworkers to improve your lives at work.
You have the right to act with coworkers to address work-related issues in many ways. Examples include: talking with one or more co-workers about your wages and benefits or other working conditions, circulating a petition asking for better hours, participating in a concerted refusal to work in unsafe conditions, and joining with coworkers to talk directly to your employer, to a government agency, or to the media about problems in your workplace. Your employer cannot discharge, discipline, or threaten you for, or coercively question you about, this “protected concerted” activity. However, you can lose protection by saying things about your employer that are egregiously offensive or knowingly and maliciously false, or by publicly disparaging your employer’s products or services without relating your complaints to any labor controversy.
Even if you are not represented by a union, federal law gives you the right to band together with coworkers to improve your lives at work – including joining together in cyberspace, such as on Facebook.
Using social media can be a form of “protected concerted” activity. You have the right to address work-related issues and share information about pay, benefits, and working conditions with coworkers on Facebook, YouTube, and other social media. But just individually griping about some aspect of work is not “concerted activity”: what you say must have some relation to group action, or seek to initiate, induce, or prepare for group action, or bring a group complaint to the attention of management.
Strikes, Pickets and Protest
All employees – union or not – have the right to participate in a protected strike, picket or protest.
You have a right to strike, picket, and protest regarding work-related issues, but there are limitations and qualifications on the exercise of that right. Your right to engage in these activities depends on the object or purpose of the action, on its timing, or on the conduct of those involved. (For more about unprotected strikes, see the “I am represented by a union” and “union rights and responsibilities” sections of this app.) Violence or other serious misconduct, such as destruction of property, is not protected.
Right to refrain
Federal law protects your right to decline to participate in union organizing or concerted activity, and to campaign against a union during an organizing campaign.