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NLRB Your Rights Protections & Elections

What is the National Labor Relations Board?

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is an independent federal agency of the United States Government. The NLRB has two functions: (1) enforcing laws to ensure that workers may freely exercise their rights under the NLRA without any interference from employers or unions and (2) holding secret ballot elections at which workers can choose whether they wish to have a union represent them. These laws apply to most non-government employers with a workplace in the United States, including non-profits, non-union businesses, and businesses in states with “Right to Work” laws.

What Are My Rights Under the NLRA?

Generally, workers have the right to join together to improve their wages and working conditions, with or without a union being involved. This means that you can:

• Talk about your working conditions with your coworkers, the public, the media, or a union (but you should not make statements that are deliberately or maliciously false or engage in conduct that is extremely profane, vulgar, or disruptive to workplace order).

Take action with one or more of your co-workers to improve your working conditions by, for example, raising work-related complaints directly with your employer or a government agency, or seeking help from a union.

• Join a union or take steps on non-working time to help a union become the representative of the employees at your place of work, and help a union bargain for a contract to set your wages and other conditions of work.

• Choose not to do any of these things.

What are Some Examples of Things Employers Cannot Do?

• Fire or demote you, make your working conditions worse, or threaten to do any of these things, because you exercise any of your rights under the NLRA, including bringing a complaint to the NLRB or talking to an NLRB agent about a complaint.

• Prohibit you from talking to others about your wages, working conditions, or a union during non-working time, such as before or after work or during break times.

• Prohibit you from handing out union materials during non-working time and in non-working areas, such as parking lots and break rooms.

• Threaten to close your workplace if workers choose a union to represent them.

• Promise or grant promotions, pay increases or other benefits to discourage union support.

• Prohibit you from wearing union hats, buttons, t-shirts and pins in the workplace except under special circumstances.

• Question you about your union support or activities in a way that discourages you from doing those things, or spy on or record your peaceful union activities and gatherings.

What Can I Do If I Believe My Rights Have Been Violated?

If you believe an employer or a union has violated your rights, you should contact the NLRB promptly. You will be able to speak with an NLRB agent and ask about possible violations without your employer, union, or anyone else being told about your inquiry.

If you choose, you may file an unfair labor practice charge saying that an employer or a union has violated your rights under the NLRA, or the rights of other workers. A copy of this charge will be provided to the employer or the union which is the subject of the charge.

We cannot investigate allegations without a charge being filed.

You may file a file a charge by visiting a field office, by mail, by telephone, or electronically through the NLRB public website: If you need help, a Board agent will help you fill out a charge form. There is no cost to you to file an unfair labor practice charge, nor do you need a lawyer. For more information please download protecting employee rights pdf below.

Download PDF • 817KB

How Do I Get the NLRB to Conduct a Secret Ballot Election?

To start the election on process, a Petition may also be filed electronically through the NLRB public website. If you are a security professional seeking to form a union with the United Federation LEOS-PBA and/or any of their affiliated Unions or divisions the United Federation LEOS-PBA will assist you in providing the proper forms to start a NLRB RC petition. They will also provide an attorney to assist in the filing of the NLRB petition and all other processes involved with its filing.

A petition and other documents may also be filed with the nearest NLRB office. The petition on must show that it has the support of at least 30% of employees in an appropriate unit. An appropriate unit is a group of workers who are logically placed together and share common employment interests for purposes of union representation.

After the petition is filed, the NLRB will work with the parties to get an agreement concerning the appropriate voting group, and the date, time, place, and other details for the election, including the need for foreign-language notices and ballots. If the parties cannot agree on some of these details, the NLRB will hold a hearing and the Regional Director will set the conditions in accordance with the NLRB’s rules and decisions.

Can a Union Be Recognized Without an NLRB Election?

In addition to NLRB-conducted elections, an employer may voluntarily recognize a union if the union requests recognition and offers to demonstrate majority support by signed authorization cards or other means. These agreements are made outside the NLRB process.

How Else Can the NLRB Help Me?

The NLRB can answer many of your job-related questions. If you file a charge, the NLRB will fully investigate your charge and issue a decision on the merits of your allegations. If your job-related issues involve other laws, an NLRB agent will refer you to the appropriate agency or agencies. In some cases, allegations may implicate more than one law, and multiple state and/or federal agencies may be able to assist you.

For more information please download YOUR GOVERNMENT CONDUCTS an Election below.

Download PDF • 87KB


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