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 fact that West Virginia becomes a "right to work" state, effective July 1, 2016.
Updated to reflect the fact that West Virginia becomes a "right to work" state, July 1, 2016.
Updated to include information on a federal court's decision to temporarily bar the DOL from implementing and enforcing the new persuader rules.
An overview of the major changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime rules that could alter the landscape for employers.
Enhanced to improve the comprehensiveness, organization and scope of coverage.
Updated to include information on a circuit court ruling regarding the National Labor Relations Act and class action waivers in arbitration agreements.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled, in Lewis v. Epic-Systems Corp., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 9638 (7th Cir. 2016), that a health care software company's arbitration agreement violates the right of employees to engage in protected concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by barring them from participating in or pursuing wage-and-hour class action or collective claims. Because the ruling deepens a split among the circuits on this issue, it could lead to an eventual review by the Supreme Court to resolve the inconsistency.
Updated to reflect the labor implications of the NYC Grocery Worker Retention Act, effective May 8, 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.
HR and legal considerations for employers regarding the management of labor relations. Support and guidance on the ever growing field of labor law.