A big exception to the At Will Rule is a union contract. Union contracts are few and far between because union membership is at an all time low. In South Carolina union workers make up less than 5% of the workforce.
If you are in a unionized workplace, you have a union contract. In that union contract, you have the right to file a grievance if you are fired unfairly. That is an exception to the At Will Rule. You can also grieve other issues.
If union contracts provide protection against the At Will Rule, why are so few South Carolina workers interested in becoming union members? That is a good question with a complicated answer. Some may think forming a union will cost them their jobs. Some might think unions won’t help them or cost too much for dues.
But, when someone is fired unfairly or for something they did not do wrong, it is too late to form a union and get the protection a union contract offers.
If you want to learn more about unions, go to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) website. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in its original form was passed by Congress in 1935, partially in response to the nationwide textile strike of 1934. In Honea Path, South Carolina seven textile workers were shot and killed at Chiquola Mills during that strike. There is a monument to those men near the old mill site, shown in the photo.