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Mississippi 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 (NLRA), 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. However, in the areas it does not cover, such as the rights of farmworkers and employees of businesses that do not engage in interstate commerce, states are free to make their own provisions. Mississippi has adopted no provisions that provide for the unionization of 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. Public employees, including teachers, in Mississippi do not have the right to strike (MS Code Sec. 25-1-105, Sec. 37-9-75).
Another area that has been left to the states is the protection of a worker's right to join or not to join a union. In Mississippi, the state constitution guarantees its citizens the right to work regardless of whether they are members of a union or not (MS Const. Art. 7 Sec. 198A). Also, like many states, Mississippi protects this right with its “right-to-work” law. The law provides that union security provisions are illegal and against Mississippi public policy. The practical effect of this law is to ban union contracts calling for closed shops (in which only union members may be hired), union shops (in which new hires must join the union within a specified period of time), and agency shops (in which employees must join the union or pay an amount in lieu of union dues to cover the cost of the ...

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