In California, the rights of employees of private employers to form and belong to unions are primarily governed by the National Labor Relations Act. Employees of public or governmental entities are governed specifically by other state laws regarding their rights or organize and belong to unions.
Because agriculture is such a large part of California’s economy, California enacted the Agricultural Labor Relations Act, which applies solely to agricultural employers and employees. Many of its provisions are similar to the National Labor Relations Act.
The purpose of these laws is primarily to protect workers who engage in any part of the collective bargaining process from any unlawful discrimination or retaliation by their employer based on their participation in the collective bargaining process. Additionally, once a collective bargaining agreement is in place, these laws provide procedures for resolution of charges of unfair labor practices, which relate to complaints that either a union or employer has violated some aspect of a collective bargaining agreement.