Alabama Unions laws & HR compliance analysis

Alabama 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.
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Like many states, Alabama does not have a comprehensive labor relations law. The federal protections are the governing law of the state for private employees engaged in interstate commerce. There is more on these protections. . The following is a brief discussion of Alabama law in areas not preempted by the NLRA.
Public employees or their representatives may make proposals as to wages and working conditions. Public officials are under a duty to receive such proposals in good faith. However, public officials cannot be compelled to negotiate toward a labor contract, and public employees are not authorized to picket to compel a labor contract (Nichols v. Bolding, 277 So. 2d 868 (Ala. 1973)).
Firefighters. Both paid and volunteer state and municipal firefighters have a protected right to join and participate in labor organizations , but they are prohibited from striking (AL Code Sec. 11-43-143).
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. Like many states, Alabama has a law that protects this right. Such laws are commonly known as “right-to-work” laws. The Alabama law forbids an employer to fire an employee or deny a person a job ...

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