Labor Management Relations Chapter 3 – Legal Influence

Origin of Labor Relations Law
1. Statutory Law
2. Judicial Decision that interprets statutes and decisions on their constitutionality
3. Constitutional Provisions
4. Administrative decisions by executive agencies
Constitutional Provisions
1. Article 1 section 8: regulates interstate commerce
2. First Amendment: right to peaceful assembly, freedom of association, freedom of speech (right to join unions and picket)
3. Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments: due process and equal protection rights used in discrimination cases, refusal to hire cases, and employee discharge cases.
Administrative decisions by executive agencies – enabling legislation by congress
1. Est. policies and rules used in admin law
2.make, enforce, and interpret the rules
ex) NLRB, US Dept. of Labor, FMCS
Criminal Conspiracy – Ex) “Cordwainers case”
1806 – Shoemakers joined together in an attempt to raise wages and refused to work for less that that wage. Convicted by a jury of 12 business owners for forming an illegal coalition to raise their own wages – fined $8 each
Commonwealth vs. Hunt
Reversed criminal conspiracy conviction of 7 workers of the Journeyman Bootmakers Society who refused to work where non-members were paid at a rate less than the going rate of $2 per pair of boots.

Court felt that the purpose of the activities must be considered and not just the fact that certain activities occurred at all

An association of workers could be established for useful and honorable purposes to prevent oppression and injustice

Civil Conspiracy
A group involved in concerted activities can cause harm to other parties even if the group is pursuing a valid objective

EX) Vegelahn v. Gunter – 1896
judge issues an injunction against union workers who were picketing. They thought that even though higher wages and shorter hours were legit, but picketing and refusing to work could case trouble

Breach of Contract and Contractual Law
Common law rules used by employers in restricting union membership and union-organizing activities
Yellow Dog Contracts
an agreement employees required many workers to sign
These contracts stated that the employee would neither join nor assist in the organization of a union and a worker could be discharged for a violation of this contract

Also, if a national union member came to the area and tried to organize unions from employees that signed one of these contracts that national union member was interfering with a contract relationship
1.Employer could get an injunction against the national union member
2.If the union person violated the injunction, he was subject to contempt of court charges
3.Fines and imprisonment possible

Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890
“every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several states…is likely declared to be illegal”
Loewe vs. Lawlor – Danbury Hatters case
United Hatters of America wanted to organize Loewe, and wanted Loewe to have their union recognized for the workers to get union wages, and for Loewe to only hire union members . Loewe refused and workers went on strike. Loewe replaced the workers and the United Hatters issued a nationwide boycott with the support of the AFL and impacted the company. Loewe sued under the Sherman Antitrust Act and won – union owed $250,000 to Loewe.
Clayton Act of 1914
“no restraining order or injunction shall be granted…in any case between an employer and employees…growing out of a dispute concerning terms and or conditions of employment, unless necessary to prevent irreparable injury to property…”
However, SC ruled mainly in favor of business owners stating unions were still bound by the Sherman Antitrust Act – only allowed one man picket lines (not effective)
The Norris LaGuardia Act (Federal Anti-Injunction Act) 1932
Recognized the right to organize and be free from employer interference

Allowed for “full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing, negotiation of terms and conditions of…employment and “freedom from employer interference, restraint, or coercion.”

Restricted role of federal courts in labor disputes (state judges elected)

Injunctions could only be issued when employer is in OPEN COURT and subject to cross examinations and can prove:
1. Unlawful acts had been threatened or committed
2. Substantial and irreparable injury to employer’s property would occur
3. Greater injury would be inflicted on the employer if an injunction was not granted than on the union if one was granted
4. The employer had no adequate remedy at law
5. Public officers were unable or unwilling to furnish adequate protection
6. The employer had made every effort to settle the dispute through collective bargaining (through mediation, arbitration, etc.) before going to court
vii. Injunctions granted had to be against specific acts (no general anti-union injunctions)

Declared yellow dog contracts unenforceable

Flaws of the Norris LaGuardia Act
1. It did not establish an administrative agency to enforce it
2. Organized labor had to go to courts to get provisions enforced and courts were generally sympathetic to employers
3. No specific employer unfair labor practices were prohibited
National Industrial Recovery Act
Ineffective – competitors worked together to establish set market prices – given “blue eagle” to put in window to show participation in act that was supposed to help end the depression. Declared unconstitutional in 1935
Wagner Act or National Labor Relations Act
1.Encouraged collective bargaining
2.Guaranteed certain employee rights
3.Declared certain employer acts as unfair labor practice
4.Established the National Labor Relations Board — Important because the NLRB had enforcement power
*** caused unions to become too aggressive and stop negotiating in good faith — abused their new power
Taft-Hartley Act or Labor Management Relations Act
Amended the Wagner Act – redistributed the balance of power in the NLRA. Declared:
1.Certain union labor practices unfair
2.Established rules concerning union membership
3.Bargaining requirements
4.Union boycotts (when not involved in the dispute)
Landrum-Griffin Act
every dollar had to be accounted for — crippled corrupt union leaders
National Labor Relations Act – Rights of Employees
Gave the rights of workers and the limits of unions
1. To form and organize their own labor organizations
2. To become members of a labor union or to refuse to join a union
3. To engage in collective bargaining through their own representatives
4. To engage in other activities done for the purpose of collective bargaining (strikes, picketing, boycotts)
Collective Bargaining and Representation of Employees
NLRA requires both employers and employees to meet at a reasonable time and to negotiate in good faith
Unfair Labor Practices by Employer
Employer cannot interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees
1. Cannot threaten to fire workers if they joined unions
2. Cannot threaten to close plant if workers organize
3. Cannot question employees about their union activities
4. Employees are protected in pursuing working concerns even if they don’t belong to a labor organization

Employers cannot interfere with the formation of, financing of, and the supporting of a labor union.
1. Company unions are illegal
2. Employers cannot pressure employees to join a particular union or promote one union over another or to participate in “sweetheart arrangements” with union officials

Employers cannot discriminate concerning hiring, length of employment, or terms and conditions of employment for the purpose of encouraging or discouraging union membership

Unfair practices by labor
Unions or their agents cannot restrain an employee from exercising his/her rights under the NLRA
1.Cannot keep non-strikers from entering worksite
2.Cannot threaten workers into supporting union
3.Cannot refuse to process a worker’s grievance in retaliation for a perceived lack of interest in the union

Labor cannot do anything that might cause an employer to discriminate against an employee concerning wages, laws and conditions of employment or union membership
1.Unions cannot force a company to give better jobs to union members
2.Unions cannot force an employer to discharge a worker who goes against the union on an issue

As with management, labor must negotiate in good faith

4 additional things a union may not do:
1.Force an employer to enter into a hot cargo agreement (agreement that union members will not be required to handle goods made by nonunion labor and/or workers at a struck plant.
2.Restrict any person from handling goods form any employer directly involved in a labor dispute
3.Force an employer to recognize or bargain with a labor organization if another labor organization has been certified by the NLRB.
4.Force or cause an employer to assign certain work to employees in a particular labor union rather than another.

Unions cannot charge excessive or discriminatory membership fees
1.Can’t charge minorities more to enter

Unions cannot engage in feather bedding
1.This is unreasonably limiting the amount of work an employee may do in a time period, or paying for unneeded employees, etc

National Labor Relations Board
5 members appointed by president; general counsel (prosecutor); NLRB has 2 major functions:
1.Supervising and conducting representation elections
2.Adjudicating employer and union unfair labor practices
NLRB procedures for Unfair Labor Practices
-Cease and desist order
-Order employers to bargain with labor representatives of employees or reinstate and award back pay and lost wages
-Order unions to refund illegally collected dues and bargain in good faith with the employer
Role of Judiciary in NLRA cases
1 order injunctive relief
2. review decisions and orders of the NLRB when they are appealed
3. enforce orders after request made by NLRB
Criticism of the NLRB
1. favors business over workers
2. length of time to get issues decided hurts workers more than business
Lundy Packing Co. case
Example of NLRB delay 15 years
Railway Labor Act
relies on collective bargaining for the settling of disputes and has est. mandatory mediation by the National Mediation Board — this keeps railway and airlines from striking and effecting global commerce
National railroad Adjustment Board (NRAB)
18 union and 18 mgmt reps that assist in resolving disputes and in interpreting the provisions of labor agreements
Civil Rights Act of 1991
Prohibits employment discrimination by companies, labor unions and employment agencies in the basis of color, race, national origin, religion or sex
Workers Adjustment and Retraining Act (WARN)
required employers with 100+ employees to give 60 days advance notice to employees who will be affected by either a plant closing or a major layoff
Union and state government must also be notified
1. mass-layoff – 500+ laid off in 30 day period
2. 33% of workforce
3. plant closing in which at least 50 workers will lose their job at a jo site within 30 days.

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