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Maine Unions: What you need to know

The state has relatively little say in the regulation of labor unions. This is because most of the protections given to labor organizations are contained in the National Labor Relations Act, a federal law. This law is “preemptive;” that is, it overrides state law in the areas that it covers, which include almost all types of private employment. But in the areas it does not cover, such as the rights of farmworkers and employees of businesses that do not engage in interstate commerce, the states are free to make their own provisions. Maine has not adopted a comprehensive law that regulates the unionization of private employees not covered by federal law.
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The federal labor law leaves to the states all questions involving the unionization of public employees. The State Employees Labor Relations Act and the Municipal Public Employees Labor Relations Law protect the rights of public employees to unionize and bargain collectively and regulate the conduct of union elections and the resolution of labor disputes. Public employees are barred from engaging in strikes, slowdowns, or work stoppages (ME Rev. Stat. Tit. 26 Sec. 979-C, Sec. 964). Maine law provides similar protections to employees of the University of Maine system and judicial employees (ME Rev. Stat. Tit. 26 Sec. 1021, Sec. 1281). Maine repealed the Agricultural Employees Relations Act, which provided collective bargaining rights to certain agricultural employees. The Maine Labor Relations Board is responsible for enforcing these laws.
Prohibited practices. State law includes a listing of prohibited practices (ME Rev. Stat. Tit. 26 Sec. 964, Sec. 979-C). Public employers are prohibited from:
• Interfering with, restraining or ...

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