Nonunion workers across the country have rights just like members of labor unions. Workplace bullying and harassment of nonunion workers by labor union members throws a dark cloud over the benefits labor unions can provide workers and makes the collective bargaining process more difficult. Nonunion workers have the right to file complaints and grievances against labor unions that engage in discriminatory practices and may even sue these organizations in civil court.
Union Membership Rights
As an employee, it is your right to choose whether to join an existing labor union when you first accept a new position. It is illegal for a labor union to require membership for each newly hired worker under the National Labor Relations Act and to collect dues payments from nonunion workers. It is also illegal for a labor union or its representatives to intimidate an employer from hiring nonunion workers or workers who are less likely to join the existing labor union.
Labor Union Discrimination
It is illegal for a labor union or its representatives to file a grievance against you or seek your suspension from a job based solely on the fact that you are not a member of the prevailing labor union at your workplace. Union members or representatives of the labor union are breaking the law if they threaten you with the loss of your job unless you support the union, according to the National Labor Relations Board website. It is also your right to resign from a labor union at any time without threat of discrimination or fine from your former union.
Working During a Strike
You have the right as a nonunion worker to remain employed during a union-imposed labor strike and may continue showing up to work. It is illegal for members of a labor union to harass you or attempt to block your entry into your workplace during a union work stoppage. Doing so may incur additional criminal penalties against union workers, including assault charges if anyone attempts to physically harm you for attempting to cross a picket line and do your job.
Filing Union Complaints
The National Labor Relations Board provides an outlet for you to file a grievance against a labor union whose members attempt to bully and harass you at your workplace. Forms for this complaint process are available at the National Labor Relations Board's website. Additionally, you may also have the right to sue the labor union in civil court to answer charges of harassment and creating a hostile work environment. An employer who remains complicit in allowing a labor union to operate in this discriminatory manner could also incur liability in a civil suit.
Read More: How to File a Complaint to a Labor Union
Jonathan Lister has been a writer and content marketer since 2003. His latest book publication, "Bullet, a Demos City Novel" is forthcoming from J Taylor Publishing in June 2014. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University and a Master of Fine Arts in writing and poetics from Naropa University.