North Carolina Unions: What you need to know

The right of workers in private employment to form unions and bargain collectively with their employers is guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and related federal laws. The NLRA is preemptive, meaning it supersedes state law in the areas it covers. However, in areas not covered by the NLRA, such as the rights of public employees and the rights of private employees who are not engaged in interstate commerce, the states are free to make their own provisions. The following is a discussion of North Carolina law with respect to workers and issues not covered by the NLRA.
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Like many states, North Carolina has a law that protects a worker's right not to join a union. The state legislature has declared that under North Carolina public policy, the right to live includes the right to work (NC Code Sec. 95-78et seq.). In North Carolina, the right to work cannot be denied because of membership or nonmembership in any labor union or labor organization or association (NC Code Sec. 95-80, Sec. 95-81).
The North Carolina law makes it unlawful to force a worker, as a condition of employment, to join a union or pay union dues, fees, or charges (NC Code Sec. 95-82). Contracts calling for union shops (in which new hires must join the union within some specified period of time) are unlawful (NC Code Sec. 95-79). Violation of this law can give rise to a civil suit for money damages by the affected employees (NC Code Sec. 95-83).
Federal law applies only to private employment. Each state must decide on its own whether and to what extent to protect public employees. According to North Carolina law, neither the state nor any of its subdivisions may enter into collective ...

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