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Know Your Rights

What Can I Say About Unions?

If you want to start a union at your workplace, then you have to talk to your coworkers about what that means. One crucial thing when starting this process is knowing when and where you’re able to talk about these things with the rest of your future union teammates. 

When it comes to what you can say about unions, we have good news: your right to talk to your coworkers about organizing falls under the umbrella of protected activity under the National Labor Relations Act. 

Read on to learn more about how our federal labor laws protect our rights to talk about unions! We’ll give you all the guidance you need to build your union safely without your employer trying to get in the way of that. You have strength in numbers and that will help stop your employer from retaliating illegally — and that’s also why it’s all the more important to be careful when you’re still beginning this process.

You can reach out to one of our union organizers to learn more about how to start building your union —and for more on how to be safe and strategic with your first organizing convos, check out our page on talking to your coworkers!

What is Protected Speech?

But before you go running around telling every last person at work the good news about unions, read on to see what counts as protected speech, and how you can use protected speech to have organizing conversations safely and successfully!

What counts as Protected Speech?

Protected speech under the NLRA includes anything involving working conditions.
Here are some examples of working conditions that fall under the NLRA:

• Health & Safety Standards
• Sick Leave Policy
• Benefits
• Wages
• Breaks
• Scheduling

However, there are things about your work that would not fall under this umbrella of protected speech though. So be sure to watch what you say about things like:

• The quality of the products your company sells
• How annoying customers at your workplace can be
• The appearance of your company’s CEO

When & where can I talk about unions & labor organizing?

There are no real exceptions to the NLRA as it relates to protected speech, meaning wherever you can talk about anything else at work, you have the legally protected right to talk about all of these things we just discussed — whenever you want, wherever you want! 

When can I talk about unions?Where can I talk about unions?
On the clockAt work
Off the clockAt home
All the time!Anywhere!

“So my boss can’t fire me for talking about unions, right?” 

“… Right?” 

Yes, it is your legally protected right to talk about your working conditions and improving them with a union. And yes, this applies whenever and wherever you are.

But no, we cannot guarantee that your employer will not retaliate and illegally fire you or your coworkers for union activity. While it is always unlawful to do so, many companies will do anything they can to stop you from organizing, even if it means breaking the law: they are more than happy to deal with the drawn out processes of being charged with violating the NLRA if it means slowing down or stopping your union campaign. 

This is why now that you know your rights about protected speech, you should go learn more about how to have safe and effective conversations about all of these things with your coworkers!

Organize and unionize your workplace

Are you and your coworkers ready to negotiate together for bigger paychecks, stronger benefits and better lives? If you are, the steps to joining the UFCW are simple.

How to Start a Union
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