Get Organized

Know Your Rights

You have the right to organize under the National Labor Relations Act:


Your right to organize is protected by the National Labor Relations Act. The National Labor Relations Board provides a useful set of Frequently Asked Questions about your right to organize, and a new federal regulation requires that—after January 12, 2012—employers who fall under the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Act must display a poster explaining your right to organize.

You have the right to a safe workplace:


There are several laws in place to make sure you have a safe workplace.  The most important federal workplace safety laws are enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), whose website provides a comprehensive set of federal workplace safety regulations, as well as information on contacting OSHA inspectors if you have concerns about safety at your workplace. Before filing a complaint with OSHA (or the state equivalent), read the AFL-CIO’s guide to filing complaints and being aware of employer retaliation.

Many states also have their own occupational safety and health plans, which, by law, are at least as powerful as federal OSHA standards when it comes to keeping you safe. The federal OSHA website provides information on these state plans.

You have a right to fair pay:


Fair Labor Standards Act

Your rights to make a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, overtime pay at a rate of not less than your regular hourly rate times one-half, and other wage-and-hour issues, are protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which is outlined in English and español. 


The Davis-Bacon Act mandates that on federally-funded construction projects, contractors have to pay the wage and fringe benefits (i.e., health insurance, retirement) paid to the majority of workers in an area–these being the “prevailing” wage and fringes. If the contractor doesn’t follow the Davis-Bacon Act, that contractor will have to pay restitution to underpaid workers, or risk debarment from federal contracts. Wage Determinations OnLine provides a Davis-Bacon User’s Guide, and the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT) has a Davis-Bacon Compliance Officer to answer your questions about the Davis-Bacon and related acts. You have a right to be paid the prevailing wage and full fringe benefits.

There are several state laws that are very similar to the Davis-Bacon Act. You can likely find information on state prevailing wage laws by searching for “[your state’s name] prevailing wage law” in your preferred search engine.

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