South 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"; in other words, it overrides state law in the areas that it covers (private employers engaged in interstate commerce or who gross over $500,000 in a year). South Carolina has no comprehensive law in this area, but it does have some specific laws applying to areas that are left to the states by the federal law.
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Employers are prohibited from discharging or discriminating in the payment of wages against anyone because of his or her membership in a labor organization. Violators of this law are guilty of a misdemeanor and, if convicted, will be fined $10 to $50 or imprisoned from 10 to 30 days (SC Code Sec. 41-1-20).
An area that has been left to the states is the protection of a worker's right to join or not to join a union. It is the public policy of South Carolina that the right to work cannot be denied on account of membership or nonmembership in a labor organization or labor union. The Office of Labor-Management Mediation of the state’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation administers the Right-to-Work law.
Employers may not require employees, as a condition of employment or continued employment, to:
• Be or become a member or affiliate of a labor organization or agency;
• Abstain or refrain from membership in a labor organization; or
• Pay any fees, dues, assessments, or other sums of money to a person or organization (SC Code Sec. 41-7-30(A)(1-3)). However, employers may make such deductions from a worker's pay if the employee has authorized the deduction in ...

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