The Law


Section 7:

“Employees shall have the right to self organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representation of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection . . ”

Who can organize?

  • Federal law gives employees of private business and organizations the right to form unions.
  • If you work for a governmental agency, different labor laws apply when you organize.
  • Supervisors, managers and independent contractors are not covered by the law.
  • Section 8(a):

    “It shall be an unfair labor practice for an employer . . . to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in Section 7 . . . ”


    You have the legal right under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act to join or support a union and to:

    1. Attend meetings to discuss joining a union.

    2. Read, distribute, and discuss union literature (as long as you do this in non-work areas, such as break rooms or parking lots, during non-work times, such as during breaks or lunch hours.)

    3. Wear union buttons, T-shirts, stickers, hats, or other items on the job.

    4. Sign a petition or card asking your employer to recognize and bargain with the union.

    5. Sign petitions or file grievances related to wages, hours, working conditions, and other job issues.

    6. Ask other employees to support the union, to sign union petitions or cards, or to file grievances.


    Under Section 8 of the National Labor Relations Act, your employer cannot legally punish or discriminate against any worker because of union activity.

    For example, your employer cannot legally do the following:

    – Threaten to or actually fire, lay off, discipline, harass, transfer, or reassign employees because they support the union.

    – Shut down the work site or take away any benefits or privileges employees already enjoy in order to discourage union activity.

    – Promise employees a pay increase, promotion, benefit, or special favor if they oppose the union.

    – Favor employees who don’t support the union over those who do in promotions, job assignments, wages, hours, enforcement of rules, or any other working condition.


    Some employers try to prevent the workers from joining a union.

    The best way to encourage your employer to recognize your union and negotiate a fair contract is to build a strong organization where you work.

    If your employer violates the law, the union can help you file “unfair labor practice” charges with the National Labor Relations Board.

    The Labor Board has the power – backed up by the federal courts – to order an employer to stop interfering with employee rights, to provide back pay, and to reverse any action taken against workers for union activity.


    Keep written notes of any incidents in which company officials or supervisors threaten, harass, or punish workers because of union activity. Your notes don’t have to be worded a certain way, but you should include what was said or done, who was involved, where and when it happened, and the names of any witnesses.

    Immediately report any such incidents to your organizing committee and the union staff.

    Click here to read:


    Independent Contractors:

    What is the law regarding independent contractors?

    If you are called an “Independent Contractor”, “Carrier,” “Freelancer,” “Stringer,” or “Correspondent,” it is necessary to determine if labor laws apply to you. Under federal labor law individuals who are truly independent contractors do not have the rights to form unions. They are considered to be independent business men and women.

    Just because a company calls you an independent contractor does not mean you are under the law.

    Ask yourself these questions about your position. Do note that he answer to a single question alone does not determine your status. The Guild is available to assist you in reviewing your status.

    A “Yes” answer for the following questions indicates that the worker is probably an employee:

  • Does the business provide instructions to the worker about when, where and how he or she is to perform the work?
  • Does the business provide training to the worker?
  • Are the services provided by the worker integrated into the business’ operations?
  • Must the services be rendered personally by the worker?
  • Does the business hire, supervise and pay assistants to the worker?
  • Is there a continuing relationship between the business and the worker?
  • Does the business set the work hours and schedule?
  • Does the worker devote substantially full time to the work of the business?
  • Is the work performed on the business’ premises?
  • Is the worker required to perform the services in an order or sequence set by the business?
  • Is the worker required to submit oral or written reports to the business?
  • Is the worker paid by the hour, week or month?
  • Does the business have the right to discharge the worker at will?
  • Can the worker terminate his or her relationship with the business any time he or she wishes without incurring liability to the business?
  • Does the business pay the traveling expenses of the worker?
  • A “Yes” answer for the following questions indicates that the worker is probably an Independent Contractor:

  • Does the worker furnish significant tools, materials and equipment?
  • Does the worker have a significant investment in the facilities?
  • Can the worker realize a profit or loss as a result of his or her services?
  • Does the worker provide services for more than one firm at a time?
  • Does the worker make his or her services available to the general public?
  • Remember The Guild is available to assist you in reviewing your status. Contact Shannon Duffy at 314-241-7046 or email him from your personal email, or Mary Casey at