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 overrides state law in any area it covers. However, in areas not covered by the NLRA, such as the organizing rights of public employees and the rights of private employees working for employers 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. In most major respects, the 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). It prohibits “yellow-dog” contracts (i.e., those in which the employee agrees not to join a union) that discourage or encourage membership in any labor organization by discrimination in hiring, tenure, or other terms or conditions of employment). 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.
Employees may not picket without the authorization of a majority of the employees concerned in the dispute. Mass picketing and sit-down strikes are prohibited, as are jurisdictional strikes--i.e., strikes involving disputes between competing labor organizations--and strikes against agricultural and farm ...

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