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Nonunion Workers Are Using the NLRA to Protect Their Rights

The Wisconsin Examiner reported about a group of employees who filed a federal labor charge against their employer but have no intention of forming a union.

Crushin' It Apparel (CA) is located in Madison, Wisconsin. A portion of CA's workers sent a petition to the owner with some concerns about their pay and working conditions. They asked for a meeting to discuss repeated issues with missed payroll, overheated work rooms, and a lack of safety equipment. During the summer, temperatures within the building get as high as 100, but the air conditioning does not work, or the owner does not turn it on. After presenting their petition, the owner refused to meet with them and said he would consider the employees to have resigned their employment if they did not recant their petition. CA denied the workers entry to work and placed them on unpaid leave. The employees have filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that the company violated their rights as workers. CA's owner has denied all of the allegations made in the petition.

The employees started picketing the company and are being supported by an organization called Worker Justice Wisconsin. The organization helps nonunion workers with complaints about their employers. The organization said CA's owner claimed the petition was filled with "lies." Worker Justice filed an unfair labor charge with the NLRB, accusing the company of illegally retaliating against the employees for acting together to address problems on the job. According to the NLRB website, the National Labor Relations Act protects workers' right to band together with coworkers to improve working conditions even if there is no intention to unionize. Worker Justice intends to offer the benefits of collective action to workers not represented by unions.