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 25 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 work rules, social media and joint employers, which affect all workplaces, union and non-union alike.
Author: Melissa Boyce, JD, Legal Editor
The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear a trio of cases involving whether employers can use mandatory arbitration clauses to ban employees from bringing class action lawsuits over workplace disputes. A ruling is expected by the end of the Court's term in late June.
Kentucky is now the nation's 27th right-to-work state, making it illegal for workers to be required to join a union or pay dues as a condition of employment. Governor Matt Bevin signed the legislation on January 9, which took effect immediately.
Updated to reflect 'right to work' status, effective January 7, 2017.
Updated to reflect Kentucky's 'right to work' status.
Updated to include information on a federal court's decision to permanently bar the DOL from implementing and enforcing the new persuader rules.
Updated to reflect information on case law regarding mandatory arbitration under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
A federal district court has issued an injunction to permanently prevent the US Department of Labor from implementing a new "persuader activity" rule that would have expanded employers' obligation to report activities they take to persuade employees concerning their rights to organize and collectively bargain.
HR and legal considerations for employers regarding the management of labor relations. Support and guidance on the ever growing field of labor law.