Special Union Privileges: Legal Permission to Harm Employers

Unions Legal Right to Harm EmployersUnions have special privileges, accumulated through a century of laws. Unfortunately, these are not good privileges in the eyes of employers, because they give labor unions the right to disrupt the workplace in different ways. You need to be fully informed of these legal immunities, and help employees understand the full consequences of unionization.

Five Rights to Harm

There is a long list of privilege laws for unions dating back to the early twentieth century. Following are five of the most egregious:

  1. Exemption from prosecution after committing union-related violent acts In the 1973 case of United States v. Emmons, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that union violence is exempted from the Hobbs Act. The Hobbs Act prohibits anyone from obstructing interstate commerce by extortion or robbery. The consequence has been unpunished acts of violence by union representatives against employees and employers.
  2. Ability to force payment of union dues In states that have not passed Right to Work laws, employees may be forced to pay union dues, even if they decline union membership. Also called an “agency fee,” it equals the employee’s share of union expenses for collective bargaining, grievance procedures and union contract administration. The forceful payment of the agency fee or union dues was granted by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1988 case of “Communication Workers v. Beck.”
  3. Legal trespassing on employer property Unions can ignore court-authorized injunctions against non-violent picketing, strikes and boycotts, and can legally trespass on your business property. This privilege was granted in the Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1932, now codified at 29 U.S.C. Ch. 6, § 101, seq. Non-violent activities can quickly turn violent.
  4. Right to force employers to bargain – There are numerous rulings made under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) and the Railway Labor Act (RLA) that force employers to the bargaining table. The rulings make it difficult for employers to counter union campaigns because they are participating in a bargaining process.
  5. Forced to pay for a union representative – In the U.S. Supreme Court case of “National Labor Relations Board v. Town & Country Electric, Inc.” it was decided that a person is an employee after hiring, even if the person is also being paid by the union to promote unionization. The employee is protected by the NLRA. You are forced to continue paying a union plant – a person who intentionally took the job to organize the company – unless the person is rightfully and legally terminated.

The legal privileges granted unions are destructive to the workplace. The best way to combat those privileges is to keep your workplace union free.


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