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What should I know about unions in Georgia?

Authored By: GeorgiaLegalAid.org
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Union laws in Georgia

What should I know? +

Contents


What are unions?

A union is a group of workers who come together to make decisions. Once a union is formed, the members generally elect a representative. The representative might negotiate conditions like wages or benefits on behalf of all workers with the employer. 

 

The National Labor Relations Act protects your right to form a union and bargain collectively with your employer if you work for:

  • A private company,

  • That is involved in interstate commerce. Most employers are involved in interstate commerce.

 

This law does not apply to some workers, including: 

  • Government employees,

  • Farm laborers,

  • Domestic workers,

  • People who work for their spouse or parent,

  • Independent contractors, and

  • Supervisors. 

 

Airline and railroad workers are covered under the Railway Labor Act. 

 

You are protected under the law even if you don’t have authorization to work.

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What are my union rights in Georgia?

You have the right to:

  • Organize a union,

  • Join a union,

  • Engage in collective bargaining,

  • Decertify a union if it does not have the support of employees

 

You have the right to do these things without fearing punishment from your employer or the union.

 

You have the right to file a complaint if your employer or union has:

  • Tried to stop you from exercising your union rights, or

  • Punished you for exercising your union rights.

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What are an employer’s rights and responsibilities with unions in Georgia?

An employer cannot:

  • Stop employees from joining a union,

  • Stop employees from participating in union activities,

  • Retaliate against an employee for engaging in union activities. Retaliation might mean:

    • Firing,

    • Threatening,

    • Transferring,

    • Punishing, or

    • Laying off an employee.

 

Georgia is a right-to-work state. That means it is illegal for an employer and a union to have a contract that requires employees to: 

  • join the union, or 

  • pay dues to the union. 

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What can I do? +

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How do I file a complaint against my employer or union?

If you are covered under the National Labor Relations Act, you can file a charge against your employer or union for unfair labor practices. You must file a charge within six months of the event or conduct. 

 

If you have questions about filing a charge:

  • Call the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) at 1-866-667-NLRB, or 

  • Visit your NLRB regional office.

 

You can file a charge:


What happens after you file a charge with the NLRB?

After you file a charge, the National Labor Relations Board will investigate your claim. It generally takes 2-3 months to complete.  

 

If the NLRB decides that there is enough evidence, they will try to work out a settlement. You do not have to agree to any settlement. 

 

If there is no settlement, the NLRB will file a complaint on your behalf with an Administrative Law Judge. The NLRB will then represent you at the hearing.

 

If the NLRB decides to dismiss your charge, you can appeal that decision to the Office of Appeals. 

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Last Review and Update: Mar 09, 2020