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
Updated to reflect the labor implications of the NYC Grocery Worker Retention Act, effective May 8, 2016.
Updated to reflect the new "persuader rules" under the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, effective April 25, 2016.
The nation's public employee unions have "won" a 4-4 tie at the Supreme Court in a case that could have left their future in doubt. The result means that unions may continue to collect dues from employees they represent, so long as the dues are being used for collective bargaining, contract administration or grievance adjustment purposes.
On March 24, the US Department of Labor (DOL) published a controversial and long-awaited final rule under the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) that expands an employer's obligation to report persuader activity - activity engaged in to directly or indirectly persuade employees concerning their rights to organize and collectively bargain.
President Obama has nominated DC Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Merrick Garland to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat created by Justice Antonin Scalia's death. Garland is perhaps best known for overseeing the domestic terrorism prosecutions of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and Theodore Kazcynski, infamously known as the Unabomber. Garland has compiled an extensive record during his 19 years on the DC Circuit, including in employment law.
Several Employment Law Manual sections have been updated to reflect New York City's new Grocery Worker Retention Act, set to go into effect on May 8, 2016.
Updated to include the Alabama Uniform Minimum Wage and Right-to-Work Act, which provides the legislature with the authority to regulate collective bargaining, effective February 25, 2016.
This How To details the steps an employer should take to address labor issues arising during and after a merger.
A new How To has been added to assist an employer in handling labor issues during and after a merger.
Justice Antonin Scalia's death last weekend in the midst of the presidential race has put the Supreme Court at the center of a political firestorm. And with his seat likely to remain vacant for the remainder of the term, it figures to have a significant impact on pending labor and employment cases at the nation's highest court.
HR and legal considerations for employers regarding the management of labor relations. Support and guidance on the ever growing field of labor law.