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National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)

March 06, 2008


Congress approved the National Labor Relations Act in 1935 to encourage a healthy relationship between private-sector workers and their employers, which policy makers viewed as vital to the national interest. The NLRA was designed to curtail work stoppages, strikes and general labor strife, which were viewed as harmful to the U.S. economy and to the nation’s general well-being. The NLRA extends many rights to workers who wish to form, join or support unions, also known as labor organizations; to workers who are already represented by unions; and to workers who join together as a group (two or more employees) without a union seeking to modify their wages or working conditions, which is known as protected concerted activities.

Protected Rights:

Employees have the right to form, join, support or assist unions, also known as labor organizations, who may bargain collectively with the employer on the employees’ behalf seeking to modify wages or working conditions. Employees also have the right to engage in other protected concerted activities without a union seeking to improve their wages and other working conditions. Employees also have the right to refrain from engaging in these activities or to seek removal of a union from the workplace. (However a union and employer may, in a State where such agreements are permitted, enter into a lawful union-security clause). Employees covered by the NLRA are protected from employer and union discrimination, also known as unfair labor practices.

Employers are also afforded rights under the NLRA protecting them from certain unlawful activities. For example, labor unions may not limit their productivity and insist that more workers be hired.

Unions are protected by the NLRA from unfair labor practices, and guaranteed the right to organize, or attempt to form a bargaining unit in private sector workplaces covered by the Act. Unions, chosen as employee representatives, are entitled to engage in collective bargaining with an employer on behalf of employees to modify their wages and other working conditions.


TOLL FREE NUMBER: The Agency also has a toll free telephone number that offers a general description of the Agency’s mission, referrals to other related agencies and access to an Information Officer based upon the caller’s telephone number. A Spanish language option is also available. Toll free access is available by dialing:

1-866-667-NLRB (1-866-667-6572)
(TTY) 1-866-315-NLRB (1-866-315-6572) for hearing impaired

The National Labor Relations Board Website:

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