Idaho Unions laws & HR compliance analysis

Idaho 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 federal National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). This law is “preemptive”; that is, it overrides state law in the areas that it covers, which include almost all types of private employment (those engaged in interstate commerce or gross more than $500,000 in a year). But in the areas that the NLRA does not cover, such as the rights of farm workers and employees of businesses that do not engage in interstate commerce, the states are free to make their own provisions.
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The federal labor law leaves to the states all questions involving the unionization of public employees. Idaho law expressly provides that teachers (ID Code Sec. 33-1271) and firefighters (ID Code Sec. 44-1802) have the right to organize and bargain collectively.
The Idaho Supreme Court has held that public employees, such as teachers, do not have a constitutionally guaranteed right to strike (School Dist. No. 351 Oneida County v. Oneida Educ. Ass’n, 567 P.2d 830 (1977)). Firefighters are prohibited from striking “upon consummation and during the term of the written contract or agreement” (ID Code Sec. 44-1811). However, firefighters may strike during the period of time after the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement and before a new agreement has been reached (Local 1494 of Int’l Ass’n of Firefighters v. City of Coeur d’Alene, 586 P.2d 1346 (Idaho 1986)).
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. Such laws are commonly known as “right-to-work” laws. Like many ...

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