Rhode Island Unions laws & HR compliance analysis

Rhode Island Unions: What you need to know

Most of the protections given to labor organizations are contained in the federal National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). As a federal law, the NLRA is preemptive, meaning that it supersedes state law in the areas it covers, which include almost all types of private employment. States are free, however, to make their own provisions in the areas not regulated by the NLRA, such as the rights of public employees and the rights of private employees who are not engaged in interstate commerce.
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The Rhode Island State Labor Relations Act supplements the NLRA. The Act recognizes the economic necessity of workers to have freedom of association, liberty of contract, and bargaining power equal to that of their employers. All employers are covered, but the Act excludes agricultural and domestic employees, workers employed only for the duration of a labor dispute, individuals working for a parent or spouse, and individuals covered by the NLRA. The Act regulates union recognition, unfair labor practices, collective bargaining, and strikes (RI Gen. Laws Sec. 28-7-1 et seq.).
The Act specifically guarantees to workers the rights of self-organization; to form, join, or assist a labor organization; to bargain collectively through a representative of their own choosing; and to engage in concerted activity for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual protection free from interference, restraint, or coercion.
The Act preserves the right to strike.
It is illegal for employers to engage in certain unfair labor practices, including:
• Spying or keeping under surveillance any activities of employees or their representatives that are ...

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