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
The US Supreme Court has ruled that companies may compel their employees to arbitrate workplace disputes individually rather than as part of a class action in a 5-4 decision.
Updated to reflect information on a Supreme Court ruling concerning collective action waivers in arbitration agreements.
Updated to reflect an amendment regarding union dues, effective May 8, 2018.
For the first time in the US, a fast-food restaurant - Burgerville in Portland, Oregon - has been unionized through a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) supervised election.
The Senate has confirmed John Ring, a management-side employment attorney, to a five-year term on the National Labor Relations Board restoring a 3-2 Republican majority to the Board and paving the way to reverse Obama-era rulings.
Updated guidance to include information on the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, effective May 25, 2018.
The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld National Labor Relation Board findings that an aluminum manufacturer committed multiple unfair labor practices before and after a union election. However, the court denied enforcement of a bargaining order issued to remedy the ULPs, ruling that the Board did not fully take into account events occurring between the time of the unfair labor practices and its order.
The United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit could either uphold the National Labor Relations Board's Browning-Ferris ruling or overturn it, thereby opening the door for the court or the NLRB to issue a new joint employment standard.
Updated to include information on CNH Indus. N.V. v. Reese, a Supreme Court case that addresses retiree medical benefits.
HR and legal considerations for employers regarding the management of labor relations. Support and guidance on the ever growing field of labor law.