The U.S. Signed Agreements To Teach Immigrants Unionization Rights

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george pic for news.jpgThe U.S. federal government has signed agreements with Mexico, Ecuador and the Philippines to educate immigrants--legal or illegal--about their rights under the National Labor Relations Act to organize, form or to join a union.  Lafe Solomon, former NLRB acting general counsel, signed a "memorandum of understanding" with Mexico's U.S. Ambassador and the current general counsel, Richard Griffin, signed agreements with ambassadors from Ecuador and the Philippines in 2014.  Griffin also testified before Congress in March, 2015 that a major purpose of these "memorandums of understanding" with these three countries is " strengthen collaborative efforts to provide foreign business owners doing business in the United States, as well as workers from those countries, with education, guidance and access to information regarding their rights and responsibilities under our statute".


The NRLB has stated that the National Labor Relation Act's (NLRA) protections extend to individuals not legally authorized to work in the U.S.  As a result an employer who terminates an illegal immigrant (once it is discovered that the employee is not authorized to work in the U.S.) in accordance with federal immigration law can be sanctioned by the NLRB if it determines that the real reason behind the termination was due to the employee's union activity.


Unionization in this country is extremely low with only 11.1% of U.S. employees belonging to a labor union.  Only 6.6% of private sector employees are unionized (35.7% in the public sector).  North Carolina remains the lowest unionized state in the U.S. with only 1.9% (figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 23, 2015).  It appears that the NLRB's objective is to do all it can to assist organized labor in their efforts to gain momentum, increasing union membership in the U.S.  The new "Ambush Rule", the "Micro-Unit" Rule, the new ruling on allowing employees to use company emails for union organizing efforts, other Board decisions and now these recently discovered agreements with foreign countries are transparent attempts to achieve the Board's objective.


Call me for help in assessing your potential unionization risks and strategies to reduce those risks.  You can reach me at (919) 713-5267 or


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