Overview: While the percentage of US workers that are unionized has been declining for years, the importance unions play for those they represent continues to be high. The management of labor relations is an important area of concern in the workplace. Both employers and employees covered by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) have rights and obligations regarding the unionization of employees. Some key concepts for employers include collective bargaining, lockout, strikes, unfair labor practice, protected concerted activity, right to work, and good faith bargaining - but there are many more!
Trends: Currently 24 states, mostly in the southern and western areas of the United States, are "Right to Work" states. Union organizing is more difficult in these states because they prohibit a union and an employer from reaching an agreement to require union membership and financial support in the form of dues as a condition of continuing employment.
Non-union employers should NOT be complacent that the NLRA or the NLRB don't apply to them. The NLRB has recently ruled in several broad areas, notably social media and employment-at-will disclaimers, which affect all workplaces, union and non-union alike.
Author: Melissa Boyce, JD, Legal Editor
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has adopted a final rule that amends its union representation election procedures by shortening the timeframe in which an election is held. The rule will go into effect on April 14, 2015.
Certain senior management and HR practices can help prevent unionization. This section helps employers exercise free speech and win a union election campaign with information on prohibited practices during a union organizing campaign (TIPS), preventing tainted "laboratory conditions," effective captive audience meetings with employees, and policies related to solicitation and distribution, employer bulletin boards, email and social networking.
The National Labor Relations Board has adopted sweeping changes to the union representation election process, as well as guidance on whether employees may use their work email system for union organization and other communications protected under the National Labor Relations Act.
Employers seeking to ensure that employees know that they should not improperly use or disclose certain confidential information and the potential ramifications of doing so should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Employers seeking to inform employees about the circumstances under which solicitation and/or distribution of written materials is prohibited should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Missouri employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to labor relations overview.
In-depth review of the spectrum of New York employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to labor relations.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Alabama employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to strikes, lockouts and other "economic weapons".
HR and legal considerations for employers regarding the management of labor relations. Support and guidance on the ever growing field of labor law.