The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 21: Labor

Chapter 19: VERMONT STATE LABOR RELATIONS ACT

Sub-Chapter 04: Unfair Labor Practices

21 V.S.A. § 1621. Unfair labor practices



§ 1621. Unfair labor practices

(a) It shall be an unfair labor practice for an employer:

(1) To interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of their rights guaranteed in section 1503 of this title.

(2) To dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of any labor organization or contribute financial or other support to it; provided that an employer shall not be prohibited from permitting employees to confer with the employer during working hours without loss of time or pay.

(3) By discrimination in regard to hire and tenure of employment or any term or condition of employment to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization.

(4) To discharge or otherwise discriminate against an employee because the employee has filed charges or given testimony under this chapter.

(5) To refuse to bargain collectively with the representatives of the employees subject to the provisions of section 1583 of this chapter.

(6) Nothing in this chapter or any other statute of this State shall preclude an employer from making an agreement with a labor organization (not established, maintained, or assisted by any action defined in this subsection (a) as an unfair labor practice) to require as a condition of employment membership in such labor organization on or after the 30th day following the beginning of such employment or the effective date of such agreement, whichever is the later, (i) if such labor organization is the representative of the employees as provided in section 1583 of this chapter, in the appropriate collective bargaining unit covered by such agreement when made; and (ii) unless following an election held as provided in section 1584 of this chapter within one year preceding the effective date of such agreement, the Board shall have certified that at least a majority of the employees eligible to vote in such election have voted to rescind the authority of such labor organization to make such an agreement. Nothing in this section shall require an employer to discharge an employee in the absence of such an agreement. An employer shall not justify any discrimination against an employee for nonmembership in a labor organization:

(A) if the employer has reasonable grounds for believing that membership was not available to the employee on the same terms and conditions generally applicable to other members; or

(B) if the employer has reasonable grounds for believing that membership was denied or terminated for reasons other than the failure of the employee to tender the periodic dues and the initiation fees uniformly required as a condition of acquiring or retaining membership.

(7) To discriminate against an employee on account of race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, or disability.

(8) To solicit persons to replace employees, or fill positions made vacant as the result of a strike, lockout or other labor dispute, by means of newspaper advertisement, posters, oral or written communications, or otherwise, unless the solicitations state plainly and specifically that a strike, lockout, or other labor dispute exists.

(b) It shall be an unfair labor practice for a labor organization or its agents:

(1)(A) To restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in section 1503 of this title. However this subdivision shall not impair the right of a labor organization to prescribe its own rules with respect to the acquisition or retention of membership therein; or

(B) To restrain or coerce an employer in the selection of representatives for the purposes of collective bargaining or adjustment of grievances.

(2) To cause or attempt to cause an employer to discriminate against an employee in violation of subdivision (a)(3) of this section or to discriminate against an employee with respect to whom membership in such organization has been denied or terminated on some ground other than the employee's failure to tender the periodic dues and the initiation fees uniformly required as a condition for acquiring or retaining membership.

(3) To refuse to bargain collectively with an employer, provided it is the representative of the employees subject to the provisions of section 1583 of this title.

(4)(i) To engage in, or to induce or encourage any individual employed by any person to engage in, a strike or a refusal in the course of employment to use, manufacture, process, transport, or otherwise handle or work on any goods, articles, materials, or commodities or to perform any services; or (ii) to threaten, coerce, or restrain any person where in either case an object thereof is:

(A) Forcing or requiring any employer or self-employed person to join any labor or employer organization or to enter into any agreement which is prohibited by subsection (c) of this section.

(B) Forcing or requiring any person to cease using, selling, handling, transporting, or otherwise dealing in the products of any other producer, processor, or manufacturer, or to cease doing business with any other person, or forcing or requiring any other employer to recognize or bargain with a labor organization as the representative of employees unless such labor organization has been certified as the representative of such employees under the provisions of section 1581 of this title, but this subdivision shall not be construed to make unlawful, where not otherwise unlawful, any primary strike or primary picketing.

(C) Forcing or requiring any employer to recognize or bargain with a particular labor organization as the employee's representative if another labor organization has been certified as the representative of those employees under section 1581 of this title.

(D) Forcing or requiring any employer to assign particular work to employees in a particular labor organization or in a particular trade, craft, or class rather than to employees in another labor organization or in another trade, craft, or class, unless such employer is failing to conform to an order or certification of the Board determining the bargaining representative for employees performing such work. This subsection (b) shall not be construed to make unlawful a refusal by any person to enter upon the premises of any employer, other than the person's own employer, if the employees of such employer are engaged in a strike ratified or approved by a representative of such employees whom the employer is required to recognize under this act. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit publicity, other than picketing, for the purpose of truthfully advising the public, including consumers and members of a labor organization, that a product or products are produced by an employer with whom the labor organization has a primary dispute and are distributed by another employer, as long as such publicity does not have an effect of inducing any individual employed by any person other than the primary employer in the course of employment to refuse to pick up, deliver, or transport any goods, or not to perform any services, at the establishment of the employer engaged in such distribution.

(5) To require employees covered by the agency fee requirement or other union security agreement authorized under subsection (a) of this section to pay, as a condition precedent to becoming a member of such organization, a fee in an amount which the Board finds excessive or discriminatory under all the circumstances. In making such a finding, the Board shall consider, among other relevant factors, the practices and customs of labor organizations in the particular industry, and the wages currently paid to the employees affected.

(6) To cause or attempt to cause an employer to pay or deliver or agree to pay or deliver any money or other thing of value, in the nature of an exaction, for services which are not performed or not to be performed or which are not needed or required by the employer.

(7) To picket or cause to be picketed, or threaten to picket or cause to be picketed, any employer where an object thereof is forcing or requiring an employer to recognize or bargain with a labor organization as the employee's representative, or forcing or requiring the employees of an employer to accept or select the labor organization as their collective bargaining representative, unless the labor organization is currently certified as the representative of the employees;

(A) where the employer has lawfully recognized in accordance with this subchapter any other labor organization and a question concerning representation may not appropriately be raised under section 1581 of this title;

(B) where within the preceding 12 months a valid election under section 1581 of this title has been conducted; or

(C) where the picketing has been conducted without a petition under section 1581 of this title being filed within 30 days after the picketing began. When such a petition has been filed, the Board shall forthwith, without regard to section 1581 of this title or the absence of a showing of a substantial interest on the part of the labor organization, direct an election in such unit as the Board finds to be appropriate and shall certify the results thereof. This subdivision (C) shall not be construed to prohibit any picketing or other publicity for the purpose of truthfully advising the public (including consumers) that an employer does not employ members of, or have a contract with, a labor organization, unless an effect of the picketing is to induce any individual employed by any other person in the course of his or her employment, not to pick up, deliver, or transport any goods or not to perform any services. This subdivision (b)(7) shall not be construed to permit any act which would otherwise be an unfair labor practice under this subsection.

(8) Compulsory membership; employees' rights. A labor organization entering into an agreement requiring a person's membership therein as a condition of employment by the employer shall not:

(A) discriminate against a person seeking or holding membership therein on account of race, color, disability, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin.

(B) penalize a member for exercising a right guaranteed by the Constitution or laws of the United States or the State of Vermont.

(C) cause the discharge from employment of employees who refuse membership therein because of religious beliefs.

(c) It shall be an unfair labor practice for any labor organization and any employer to enter into any contract or agreement, express or implied, whereby the employer ceases or refrains or agrees to cease or refrain from handling, using, selling, transporting, or otherwise dealing in any of the products of any other employer, or to cease doing business with any other person, and any contract or agreement entered into before or after enactment of this chapter containing such an agreement shall be to that extent unenforceable and void.

(d) The expressing of any views, argument, or opinion, or the dissemination thereof, whether in written, printed, graphic, oral, or visual form, shall not constitute or be evidence of an unfair labor practice under any of the provisions of this chapter, if such expression contains no threat of reprisal or force or promise of benefit.

(e)(1) For the purposes of this section, to bargain collectively is the performance of the mutual obligation of the employer and the representative of the employees to meet at reasonable times and confer in good faith with respect to wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment, or the negotiation of an agreement, or any question arising thereunder, and the execution of a written contract incorporating any agreement reached is requested by either party; but the failure or refusal of either party to agree to a proposal, or to change or withdraw a lawful proposal, or to make a concession shall not constitute, or be evidence direct or indirect of, a breach of this obligation.

(2) Where there is in effect a collective bargaining contract covering employees, the duty to bargain collectively shall also mean that no party to such contract shall terminate or modify such contract unless the party desiring such termination or modification:

(A) serves a written notice upon the other party to the contract of the proposed  termination or modification 60 days prior to the expiration date thereof, or in the event such contract contains no expiration date, 60 days prior to the time it is proposed to make such termination or modification;

(B) offers to meet and confer with the other party for the purpose of negotiating a new contract or a contract containing the proposed modifications;

(C) notifies the Chair of the Board within 30 days after such notice of the existence of a dispute, provided no agreement has been reached by the time; and

(D) continues in full force and effect, without resorting to strike or lockout, all the terms and conditions of the existing contract for a period of 60 days after such notice is given or until the expiration date of such contract, whichever occurs later.

(3) The duties imposed upon employers, employees, and labor organizations by subdivisions (e)(2)(B), (C), and (D) shall become inapplicable upon an intervening certification of the Board, under which the labor organization or individual, which is a party to the contract, has been superseded as or ceased to be the representative of the employees subject to the provisions of section 1583 of this title, and the duties so imposed shall not be construed as requiring either party to discuss or agree to any modifications of the terms and conditions contained in a contract for a fixed period, if such modification is to become effective before such terms and conditions can be reopened under the provisions of the contract. Any employee who engages in a strike within the 60-day period specified in this subsection shall lose his or her status as an employee for the employer engaged in the particular labor dispute, for the purposes of this chapter, as amended, but such loss of status for such employee shall terminate if and when he or she is re-employed by such employer.

(f) Repealed.]  (Added 1967, No. 198, § 14; amended 1969, No. 51, § 2; 1971, No. 205 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1973, No. 184 (Adj. Sess.); 1973, No. 214 (Adj. Sess.), § 24; 1999, No. 19, § 6; 2007, No. 41, § 19; 2013, No. 37, § 15, eff. June 30, 2013.)