Massachusetts Unions laws & HR compliance analysis

Massachusetts 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 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. The NLRA is the governing law of the state for private employees engaged in interstate commerce.
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State law governing labor relations applies to workers not covered under the NLRA and guarantees the right to organize, bargain collectively, and engage in concerted activities for collective bargaining or other mutual aid and protection. It also sets strict criteria for the conduct of union activities. The state law does not cover domestic employees, agricultural workers, and individuals working for their parent or spouse. All employees except those in the public sector have the right to strike under Massachusetts law (MA Gen. Laws Ch. 150A Sec. 1 et seq.).
Unfair labor practices.The law prohibits unfair labor practices by employers and employees. For example, it is an unfair labor practice for an employer to interfere with, coerce, or restrain employees exercising their labor rights MA Gen. Laws Ch. 150A Sec. 4). Labor organizations are also subject to unfair labor practice provisions, including, for example, being prohibited from unlawfully seizing private property as a means of settling a labor dispute (MA Gen. Laws Ch. 150A Sec. 4A). The law prohibits a lockout of employees or a strike by nurses and ...

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