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 28 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
Updated to reflect forthcoming amendments regarding unemployment benefits eligibility during a labor dispute.
Updated to reflect a legal development regarding the right of taxicab and for-hire drivers to unionize in Seattle.
The Supreme Court has ruled that then President Obama exceeded his authority in allowing Lafe Solomon to serve as the NLRB's interim general counsel while he was awaiting Senate confirmation for the permanent general counsel position. The ruling is significant in that it could apply to any future temporary agency appointments that President Trump might consider.
President Trump moved quickly to fill the Secretary of Labor role, nominating Alexander (Alex) Acosta less than 24 hours after his first nominee, Andrew Puzder, withdrew when it appeared he did not have the votes to be confirmed by the Senate. Acosta would be the first Latino member of Trump's cabinet if confirmed.
Employers may face a general strike as soon as February 17. Activists and strike organizers are seeking to demonstrate against the policies of the current administration and congressional majority leaders.
The US Supreme Court will wait to hear a trio of mandatory arbitration cases involving class action waivers in employment until its next term, which does not begin until October. The delay makes it more likely that Supreme Court nominee Neal Gorsuch, if confirmed, will be in a position to cast a possible decisive vote.
A new section has been added to the Best Practice Manual that discusses the steps an employer may take to remain union-free.
This section of the XpertHR best practice manual discusses steps an employer may take to remain union-free, including developing a proactive union-avoidance strategy, identifying employee concerns, training supervisors and engaging in ongoing communications with employees.
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has signed a bill making Missouri the 28th "right to work" state. However, union leaders are vowing to take the issue to the polls.
HR and legal considerations for employers regarding the management of labor relations. Support and guidance on the ever growing field of labor law.