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
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Richard F. Griffin, Jr., has issued a report concerning recent employer work rule cases. The report discusses and synthesizes a number of recent challenges to employee handbooks and policies that were presented in cases reviewed, challenged or resolved by the Office of the General Counsel.
The NLRB has issued a decision addressing the propriety of strict confidentiality provisions in performance improvement plan forms.
The Employment Law Manual, a Quick Reference Chart, a How To and an FAQ have been updated to reflect Wisconsin becoming the nation's 25th "right to work" state.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Wisconsin employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to union organization and labor relations.
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.
Employers may assume that all issues relating to union organization and collective bargaining will be governed by the federal National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). However, the fact is that the NLRA has left certain union-related matters up to the states.
This chart lists the states that have enacted right to work laws, which prohibit the execution or application of agreements requiring membership in a union as a condition of employment.
Governor Scott Walker has signed Special Session Senate Bill 44, or the Freedom to Work Act, into law. The Act eliminates any requirement that employees pay union dues as a condition of employment.
Minnesota employers seeking to inform employees about their rights related to wage disclosure, as well as the limitations on such disclosures, should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
HR and legal considerations for employers regarding the management of labor relations. Support and guidance on the ever growing field of labor law.