Title 28
Labor and Labor Relations

Chapter 7
Labor Relations Act

R.I. Gen. Laws § 28-7-2

§ 28-7-2. Policy of chapter.

(a) The economic necessity for employees to possess full freedom of association, actual liberty of contract, and bargaining power equal to that of their employers, who are frequently organized in corporate or other forms of association, has long been sanctioned by public opinion, and recognized and affirmed by legislatures and the highest courts. As the modern industrial system has progressed, there has developed between and among employees and employers an ever greater economic interdependence and community of interest which have become matters of vital public concern. Employers and employees have recognized that the peaceable practice and wholesome development of that relationship and interest are materially aided by the general adoption and advancement of the procedure and practice of bargaining collectively as between equals. It is in the public interest that equality of bargaining power be established and maintained. It is likewise recognized that the denial by some employers of the right of employees freely to organize and the resultant refusal to accept the procedure of collective bargaining substantially and adversely affect the interest of employees, other employers, and the public in general. This denial creates variations and instability in competitive wage rates and working conditions within and between industries and between employees and employers engaged in those industries, and by depressing the purchasing power of wage earners and the profits of business, tends to:

(1) Produce and aggravate recurrent business depressions;

(2) Increase the disparity between production and consumption;

(3) Create unemployment with its attendant dangers to the health, peace and morale of the people; and

(4) Increase public and private expenditures for relief of the needy and the unemployed.

(b) When some employers deny the right of employees to full freedom of association and organization, and refuse to recognize the practice and procedure of collective bargaining, their actions lead to strikes, lockouts, and other forms of industrial strife and unrest which are inimical to the public safety and welfare, and frequently endanger the public health.

(c) Experience has proved that protection by law of the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively removes certain recognized sources of industrial strife and unrest, encourages practices fundamental to the friendly adjustment of industrial disputes arising out of differences as to wages, hours, or other working conditions, and tends to restore equality of bargaining power between and among employers and employees, thereby advancing the interests of employers as well as employees.

(d) In the interpretation and application of this chapter and otherwise, it is declared to be the public policy of the state to encourage the practice and procedure of collective bargaining, and to protect employees in the exercise of full freedom of association, self organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing for the purposes of collective bargaining, or other mutual aid and protection, free from the interference, restraint, or coercion of their employers.

(e) All the provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed for the accomplishment of this purpose.

(f) This chapter shall be deemed an exercise of the police power of the state for the protection of the public welfare, prosperity, health, and peace of the people of the state.

History of Section.
P.L. 1941, ch. 1066, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 28-7-2.