Wisconsin Unions laws & HR compliance analysis

Wisconsin 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. There is additional information and a more detailed discussion of interstate commerce.
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Wisconsin has adopted its own law to supplement the federal guarantees under the NLRA. In most major respects, the Wisconsin Employment Peace Act mirrors the NLRA, guaranteeing the right of employees to organize, bargain collectively, and strike. It specifically prohibits unfair labor practices by employers—and by unions and individual workers (the NLRA does not cover individual workers). The Act does not apply to domestic servants, independent contractors, executives and supervisors, those working for close family members, and employees subject to the Federal Railway Act.
Employers. In Wisconsin, it is considered an unfair labor practice for an employer to:
• Interfere with an employee's rights guaranteed by the Employment Peace Act.
• Initiate, create, dominate, financially support, or interfere with the formation or administration of a labor organization.
• Encourage or discourage membership in a labor organization by discrimination in regard to hiring, tenure, or other terms or conditions of employment, except in limited circumstances where an all-union fair-share or maintenance agreement is in ...

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