Some employees in New York may be members of labor unions, which work to protect employees and to keep wages and work conditions fair. Although labor unions are a common part of the employment landscape today, workers’ rights to unionize were not recognized until the 20th century.
One of the earliest concerns of the labor movement was the exploitation of children in the workplace. Leaders also fought to bring the workday for all workers down to 10 hours daily. The passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act gave many employees a right to an eight-hour workday. Today, the labor movement continues to fight for fair wages for employees, including efforts to increase the federal minimum wage.
The labor movement also supports a number of other rights for employees. In the Industrial Revolution, factories could be very unsafe environments for workers. Labor unions help enforce safety and health standards along with such benefits as leave for medical reasons. Labor movements also support the rights of workers to be whistleblowers and to work in a discrimination-free environment. Current and former military personnel may also have certain labor rights and protection from discrimination. Labor rights groups also work to prevent human trafficking.
Legal advice and representation may be crucial for unions that are working to protect people on the job. An attorney may be able to advise labor unions and represent them if they are in a dispute with an employer. Workers who are seeking union representation may also want to consult an attorney to be sure they understand their rights. In some cases, an employer may seek to discourage formation of a union among employees even when the employees are well within their rights. Employers may also want to consult an attorney regarding unions to make sure their company does not violate the law.