A Word on Enforcement and Organizing

You can enforce and enjoy many of these rights on your own. However, you may need to consult a lawyer to help you enforce some rights. Some provisions can only be enforced by filing a lawsuit in federal court; other provisions are enforced by the US Department of Labor.

Filing a formal complaint, however, is not always the most effective way to get what you want. You must carefully weigh your situation and decide whether you are willing to make the commitment of time energy and money to pursue a formal complaint or lawsuit. It also carries risks. Although it is illegal for your union or the boss to retaliate against you for exercising your legal rights, retaliation is a possibility.

The best way to protect and enforce your rights is to organize with other members to put pressure on the boss or the union—through petitions, group grievances, campaigns at union meetings, newsletters–and to win the support of outside groups. In the final analysis, the best solution for problems in the union is for the members to organize and change the union, including, but not limited to, running for union office. You are the ones who can solve the problem.

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