KWRU and Worker Rights

Whether you have been on a job for 1 day or 60 years, what rights do you have? What can you legally expect from your employer? These questions can't be answered completely in one article, but I will give you some facts and figures that will give you insight into the answers.

When we think of Workers' Rights and those that champion their cause, we tend to think of unions. Aren't unions suppose to watch over and protect the rights of workers no matter how big or seemingly insignificant a job they might have? Doesn't seniority, in a union, many times overshadow performance? It may surprise you that as of January 2008 union members accounted for ONLY 12.1% of employed wage and salary workers. Thus, 87.9% of these workers are nonunion.

The union employee has the union as their bargaining representative. Does this mean the nonunion worker has no bargaining power with their employer? NO, they can still bargain with their employer, it just has to be done in a different way than with a union employee.

Here are two examples:

Concerted Activity - The National Labor Relations Board allows this for nonunion employees. A concerted action take place when employees get together with their employer to demand a benefit. If the benefit is for ALL employees, then this is a concerted effort and an employer CAN'T fire an employee(s) for participating IF the demand is reasonable.

Employee Committees - A group of employees (management AND employee representatives) that meet regularly to serve the interests of ALL the employees.

Union or nonunion employees tend to want the same benefits and conditions. Typical demands consist of:

1. Clean and safe work environment

2. Better pay, hours or conditions

3. Health / Medicare Benefits

4. Fair practices for promotions, terminations and discipline

We have seen that whether someone is a union or nonunion worker, the demands and workers' rights are similar. Yet the nonunion worker doesn't have as much bargaining power with their employer, but they still have rights. If you are a nonunion worker that believes your company is treating you unfairly, consult a labor law attorney to learn more about your rights and defenses.

Need good, affordable Legal advice? Don't know who to call?

See the links below:

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Phillip Braswell

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