Sunday, October 15, 2006

What UT should know about their unfairlabor practice?

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT The ActThe basic law of labor relations in the United States is contained in the National Labor Relations Act.The law was first enacted in 1935 and has been amended several times. As amended, it is sometimes also referred to as the Labor Management Relations Act. The NLRA has as it basic objectives to provide employees with a process of choosing a collective bargaining representative, to provide employees a means of engaging in mutual aid and protection and to protect employees in their exercise of those rights. The NLRA also established the National Labor Relations Board, which has the responsibility of administering the NLRA. The NLRA consists of numerous provisions, with Sections 7, 8(a), 9 and 10 being the most applicable to this discussion. Section 7 contains the basic rights of employees: Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection and shall have the right to refrain from any or all such activities…. In sum, Section 7 provides that employees shall be protected in their right to collectively bargain, to engage in mutual aid or protection, or to refrain from such activity. Section 8 of the NLRA sets forth conduct that constitutes an unfair labor practice. Section 8(a) describes conduct that is forbidden by employers. Section 8(b) describes conduct forbidden by unions. As this article focuses on employer conduct, only Section 8(a) is addressed here. Pursuant to Section 8(a), employer unfair labor practices may be found where managers or supervisors: Interfere with, restrain or coerce employers in the exercise of their rights to organize, bargain collectively, and engage in other concerted activities for their mutual aid or protection. Section 8(a)(1). Dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of any labor organization or contribute financial or other support of it. Section 8(a)(2). Encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization by discrimination with regard to hiring or tenure or conditions of employment, subject to an exception for a valid union security agreement. Section 8(a)(3). Discharge or otherwise discriminate against an employee because he or she has filed charges or given testimony under the Act. Section 8(a)(4). Refuse to bargain collectively with the majority representative of its employees. Section 8(a)(5). Enter into a hot cargo agreement with the union in which the employer promises not to do business with, or not to handle or otherwise deal in any of the products of any other person. Section 8(e). Section 9 of the NLRA governs election procedures and representation cases and provides that the certified representative bargaining agent of an appropriate unit of employees is their exclusive representative. Section 10 of the NLRA grants the NLRB the authority to enforce the unfair labor practice provisions found in Section 8. Section 10 also establishes trial procedures in unfair labor practice cases and provides for certain injunctive relief through the courts.


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