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
This section helps HR professionals understand how a union is formed, including the secret ballot election process conducted by the National Labor Relations Board; strategies for employers for preventing and/or handling a union organizing campaign in the workplace; and discusses "Right to Work" states and union decertifications.
This section helps HR professionals understand how to engage in a good-faith, collective bargaining process with a union in order to achieve a contract. In addition, this section highlights the different categories of subjects of collective bargaining - mandatory, permissive and illegal.
This section helps HR professionals understand that the National Labor Relations Act prohibits employers and union employees from engaging in certain unlawful activities, known as unfair labor practices. In addition, this section also explains how the National Labor Relations Board investigates, prosecutes and remedies charges of unfair labor practices.
This section helps HR professionals understand that the ultimate economic weapons available during a labor dispute are a strike by the union employees and a lockout by the employer. Additionally, this section provides guidance on the employer's rights and restrictions in replacing employees during a strike or a lockout.
This section helps HR professionals understand the National Labor Relations Board's authority to impose penalties (remedies), including back pay and reinstatement, on employers who violate the National Labor Relations Act. The section also discusses simple steps employers may take to avoid liability.
This How To details the steps a prudent employer should take to prepare and continue business operations during a strike.
This How To details the steps a prudent employer should take to prepare for collective negotiations with a union.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has broadened the definition of "joint employer" in a landmark ruling that could make it easier for unions to negotiate on behalf of workers at companies that rely on contractors and franchisees.
In a case that sparked nationwide debate, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has declined jurisdiction and, therefore, dismissed an attempt by Northwestern University football players to unionize.
In TruServ Corp. v. NLRB, 254 F.3d 1105, (D.C. Cir. 2001), the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit addressed whether 1) a genuine bargaining impasse had been reached prior to the employer's implementing terms and conditions of employment, and 2) whether the employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by disciplining unit employees pursuant to unilaterally implemented work rules and refusing to process employee grievances.
HR and legal considerations for employers regarding the management of labor relations. Support and guidance on the ever growing field of labor law.