… That Labor Unions Don’t Want Workers to Know




 ” However, workers have an option they should know about. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) has a provision that may be the best kept secret in labor law. Known as de-authorization, it allows workers to opt out of joining a union as a condition of employment.

It is, quite simply, nearly impossible for workers to get rid of a union once it has been certified as their monopoly bargaining representative. The NLRA does not require an election at the end of a designated term—such as a given time period or after the expiration of a contract—to allow workers to decide whether they want to continue being represented by the incumbent union or not. In fact, some workers may never get the opportunity to decertify a union they don’t want representing them.

In non-right to work states, private sector workers employed in union shops are required to join the union as a condition of employment. If they decide they don’t want the union representing them, their only option is a decertification election, held after the expiration of a contract or a narrow 30-day window near the end of the third year of a contract. The union can circumvent a time window by agreeing to a new contract before the window opens—thus moving the window to the end of the new contract, when they can move it again. “