Union Representatives in Germantown
Protecting Worker's Rights in West Tennessee
In many cases, workers are taken for granted and exploited by the corporations and businesses they work for. In many states, employees have the right to form a union and push for better working conditions, fair wages, and benefits that would make their work environment safer and more fulfilling. However, companies are also within their rights to take action against those attempting to form a union in the workplace.
Snider & Horner, PLLC believes that those seeking fair treatment from employers deserve protection from malicious actions and attempts to silence them. Our firm is known for fierce advocacy and dependability. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling a variety of complex legal matters and have successfully helped our clients hold large corporations accountable.
Union Mechanics: How Unions Work
Unions are groups of employees within a company or corporation that elect leaders democratically who represent the union members. In most cases, unions push for positive changes that benefit the workers and make the work environment safer.
To form a union, workers must sign a petition stating their support for a union. Once at least 30% of the employees show support, they vote on whether to begin the union officially. This process takes time, and there is a lot of work that must be done to convince employees that a union is their best option. It is crucial that workers considering unionizing contact an experienced organizer.
Union organizers have experience building labor unions from the ground up and have specific talking points to help workers combat union-busting rhetoric that may be spread in the workplace. Organizers also advocate for and inform the employees of their rights.
Union busting is a method used by employers to stop employees from unionizing or “collaboratively conferencing.” While these methods are not explicitly legal, employers are within their rights to stop collective bargaining if they fear it may disrupt the current work environment.
Instead of attaching workers for collective bargaining, employers can form their own campaign against union efforts. Anti-union campaigns often employ certain tactics meant to discourage employees from unionizing.
These tactics include:
- Union busting consultants: There are consulting firms that specialize in stopping unionization. Employers may hire a union buster to discourage workers from organizing.
- Astroturfing: Employers may create fake grassroots movements within the company by hiring anti-union employees to push back against the creation of a union. The company may supply these employees with anti-union talking points and fund other efforts internally.
- Meetings: When employees begin to organize, an employer may call a mandatory meeting to discuss the status of their efforts. These meetings may be in small groups or one-on-one to ensure that the employees have little distractions when listening to anti-union talking points. In many cases, this intimidates employees who are undecided about unionizing and discourages them from participating.
- Anti-union propaganda: In many cases, employers will hang signs, place stickers, and create other strategically placed anti-union materials around the workplace. Some materials are not as openly anti-union and instead, focus on the existing unity within the company and warn employees that unionizing could disrupt the workplace.
- Scabs: In situations where workers are on strike, employers may offer extra pay or benefits to anti-union workers or hire contractors to take the place of workers on strike. These individuals are pejoratively referred to as scabs.
Union busting can take many shapes and forms, but while it is not strictly illegal to employ the methods listed above, companies cannot terminate employees, interfere with union elections, or outright deny benefits to workers because of their involvement in a union.
Union Rights in Tennessee
In the state of Tennessee, workers are employed “at-will” meaning their employer can legally terminate them for any reason and employees are allowed to leave their positions for any reason. However, at-will employment cannot be used to discriminate against protected groups or based on gender, age, religion, race, etc.
On the one hand, employees in the state cannot legally be forced to join a union, but on the other hand, employers may act against union formation on the premises. The use of union-busting and scabs are common ant union measures that are not illegal per se.
However, while employers may use ant union rhetoric and union busters to stop organizing in their company, they are not under any circumstances allowed to:
- Deny or attempt to deny employment to any worker because of their membership in, affiliation with, resignation from, or refusal to join a labor union
- Enter into a contract or agreement that includes provisions for the exclusion of employees who have had or are currently involved with a union
- Exclude any person because of their payment or failure to pay dues to a labor union
- Operate within the state to work with or against a union or to prevent workers from leaving or joining an existing union
If an employer attempts to retaliate or threaten an employee for their participation in collective bargaining, they are in direct violation of the law.
Why You Need an Attorney
Forming a union is complex and many employees are fearful of losing their employment because of collaborative conferencing. The law in TN does not provide workers with much protection when unionizing, but the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) offers federal protection.
The laws surrounding unionization and union-busting are complicated and many employers may hire legal representatives who focus their practice on union-busting to aid their anti-union efforts. If you are attempting to join a union or form one at your workplace, having a union representative and legal advocate can help you stand up for fair labor. They can advocate for your rights and help you create terms that satisfy your needs and the employer’s goals.
Union attorneys can help employees:
- Organize campaigns
- Represent union leaders in negotiations with employers
- Represent employees in benefit disputes
- Handle discrimination or harassment claims
- Assist with arbitration of employee grievances
- Represent unions to the NLRB
- Represent unions under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor
- Represent unions in collective bargaining negotiations
Advocates and Fierce Defenders
Snider & Horner, PLLC are committed to our clients and is dedicated to protecting their rights in all matters civil or criminal. Our attorneys have dedicated their careers to advocating for their clients and we never back down from opposition. Our award-winning firm is known for our dependability and commitment to our community. We have extensive trial experience and have helped countless clients fight for the best possible outcome.
If you are facing anti-union action or fear retaliation from your employer, you need to contact an attorney immediately. Schedule a consultation with our West Tennessee union representatives today.
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