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 that it supersedes state law in the areas that 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.
Like many states, California has no comprehensive labor relations law of its own. The federal protections are the governing law of the state for private employees engaged in interstate commerce. The following is a discussion of certain provisions of California law regarding the rights of employees not covered by the NLRA.