National labour relations act Essay

National labour relations act

Brief History of the Act:

                The National Labor Relation Act (NLRA) was enacted in the year 1935 by congress. It was based on the Magna Carta. It is given in the US constitution under Art-1, Sec.8. It applies mostly to the private non-agricultural employees and employers. It is established for the Selection of labor organizations to represent a union of employees in collective bargaining.[1]

           The main objective of this law is based on the guarantees provided to employees regarding the right to self-organization, forming, joining or assisting to make labor organizations and they have been permitted to be liberal in order to bargain collectively or through representative for their mutual aid and protection.   The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) act was created for safeguarding and ensuring its exercise and preventing employers from engaging them into unfair labor practices like interference, restraint act or coercion pertaining to their rights of organizing and bargaining [2]

Collective Bargaining:

 A trade Union or a group of representatives of workers can successfully bargain with employers. It is called collective bargaining; it means negotiation between employers and employee.  Collective means a group of actions represented through its representatives, bargaining an agreement. Collective bargaining is collective agreement; it means all agreements in writing regarding working conditions and terms of employment concluded between an employer, a group of employers or one or more employer’s organization in one hand and one or more representative. Employees shall have right to self-organization, collectives picketing and strikes.

Findings of Collective bargaining:
Sec. 1 describes how employers denied the acts of employees, which leads to strikes and other forms of industrial disturbances. The following aspects are effects of burdening or obstructing commerce:

(a)    Impairing the efficiency,

(b)   Occurring in the current of commerce

(c)    Materially affecting, restraining, or controlling the flow of raw materials or manufactured of processed goods from the channels of commerce, or the prices of such materials or goods in commerce.

(d)   Causing diminution of employment and wages in such volume as substantially to impair or disrupt the market for goods flowing from or into the channels of commerce.

     The employees don’t have collective bargaining power, employers tend to aggressive relations by depressing wage rates and also by not providing good working conditions.

     Collective bargaining is used to maintain friendly adjustments of industrial disputes arising out of differences like wages, hours, or other working conditions.

     Some labor organizations intentionally disturb free flow of goods in such commerce through strikes and other forms of industrial unrest. The elimination of such disturbance is the necessary condition to the assurance of the rights herein guaranteed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Department of Labor will take the necessary data regarding collective bargaining agreements for guidance in future. (Sec. 211)

     United States law declared some principles eliminating the causes and disturbances of industrial relations and encourages the collective bargaining and also protecting labor rights.[3]

                In the year 1959, congress imposed restriction on unions in Landrum Griffen Act.

 It gave some rights to employers like, it had right to dismiss employees, if they have joined union and gone for strikes during the economic depression.

           The main object of the act is the maintenance of labor relations. Due to the strike of 1933 and 1934 the NLRA successfully campaigned in the automobiles, Steel Electrical Manufacturing and Rubber industries. By 1945 the union membership reached up to 35% of the workers. The industrialist and other opponents organized labor sought to weaken the NLRA and they succeeded in 1947 in helping to protect trade unionists from their employers.  Last major revision of the NLRA occurred in 1959; at that time the Congress was imposed further restrictions on unions in the Landrum-Griffin.

              The act is about the labor relations and merely meant for the violent contradictions between the workers who are trying to form unions, the police and the security defending interests of the anti union employers and it was about the right of the employers to form free unions and join unions to protect the employers from the management which created the NLRB and to stop the employees unfair labor practices which might discourage to prevent workers from negotiating a union contract too and to protect the unionist from the employees of labor relations in industries.

                       By imposing some restrictions, the employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid and protection which bought an understanding between the management, employers and unions; it also prohibits the adjustments of employee grievances unless a union representative is given an opportunity to be present, and establishes procedures to vote on union representation.

The Sections 7 to 9 are most important of the National Labor Relation Act (NLRA). Section 7 of the act is very important which is regarded as the heart of NLRA

Rights of employees:

           Section 7 explains the right of employees in self organization, forming, joining, or assisting labor organizations and also bargaining with their own or engaging in resolute issues for their mutual aid and protection.  It also applies a broad range to perform their activities collectively. There is right to refrain from the activities except from any actions mentioned in the agreement between the employer and the employee apart from protecting the employees who are taking part in grievances, strikes, picketing etc. where as section 8 defines about the unfair labor practices of the employer.

Unfair Labor Practices

It includes five types of illegal conduct as given below from the employer point of view:

1.      Interference of the employer, restraint, or coercion directing against collective activities of the union. (Section 8(a)(1))

2.      Domination of the Employer in the Unions. (Section 8(a)(2))

3.      Discrimination of the Employer against employees taking part in Union or collective activities. (Section 8(a)(3))

4.       Retaliation against employees who files unfair labor practice charges under NLRB, by the employer. (Section 8(a)(4))

5.       Bargaining in good faith if refused by the Employer with the union representatives. (Section 8(a)(5))

Unfair labor practices from the labor perspective:

1. Restrain or Coerce employees in exercising the regular rights available.

2. Forcing employer to discriminate employees in different aspects and collective bargaining or the other grievances. [Subsection (a) (3) of this section]

3. Refuse to bargain collectively. [Section 9(a)].

4. Inducing the person the do strike or refuse to work.

5. Forcing the employer to pay even for non performance of duties.

6. Threatening to do picketing.

Conversely section 9 provides the certified or recognized unions to be exclusive representatives of bargaining. It also prohibits employee grievance adjustment without the permission of union representatives and also provides procedures for voting on union representation.[4]

Section 10 tells about the prevention of unfair labor practices which are affecting commerce, where that power is entrusted to the Board which cannot be altered unless provided.

Advantages and disadvantages of the act;

              NLRA established the right to join trade union and to bargain collectively. State law regulates collective bargaining. Agricultural labor does not cover under this act. Arbitration is an alternative litigation which is collective agreement between employers and Employees to solve the disputes. The arbitrator can issue a decision.

           Conversely there is no freedom at workplace ensured by the U.S. government, but by the statutory, the provisions of Section 8(c) of the NLRA, employers have right to exercise more effectively. The permission exercising private power doesn’t take the governments responsibility in intervening what that power is interfering with fundamental human right like freedom of association, it also includes both employer property and speech rights. They should work together according to the basic interest of the employer.  Freedom to participate in economic or social life of the humans, which helps in influencing the decisions made which has effect on their living. It is necessary to the freedom of association.

Case Laws:

National Labor Relations Board V. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation

           The facts of the case are, Jones & Laughlin was the largest steel producer. There were charges against them that the company will take action against the member who wanted to join labor union.  Due to violation of the norms, the company had removed ten employees.  Workers ordered to rehire and retain back pay by the NLRB, but feeling the Act as unconstitutional, Jones & Jaughlin refused to obey the same.   The lower courts agreed. The protection of commerce from burdens and operations is essential in such close interstate commerce relationship even though the activities are intrastate as per the opinion of the Supreme Court.

National Labor Relations Board V. Pennsylvania Greyhound Lines, 303 U.S. 261 (`1938)

           In this case Respondent Pennsylvania Greyhound Lines, Inc., is a corporation which operates between the Atlantic Coast and Chicago and St.Louis. a motorbus system of passengers which is affiliated to Pennsylvania Company, it offers various services relating to Pennsylvania Company’s employee personnel and other corporations affiliated to it.  They act together in dealing with the labor relation of the employees.

           A labor organization Local Division No.1063, Amalgamated Association of Stree, Electric Railway and Motor Coach Employees of America filed charges. And a complaint issued under section 10 (b) of the Act, 29 U.S.C.A. 160 (b) by the board which charged that respondents were engaged in illegal labor activities that effected the interstate commerce and violated section 8, 29 U.S.C.A. 158.  After scrutinizing, it was found by the board, that the respondent involved in unfair labor practices against the employees in exercise to their fundamental rights guaranteed by Act, where as they had dominated in formation of administration of their employees labor organization.  The Pennsylvania Greyhound Lines, Inc., employees Association contributed financially and providing other support which is violation of section 8(1),(), 9 U.S.C.A. 158 (1,2)

Ceasing of unfair labor practices was ordered by the court apart from withdrawing the recognition of them from the Employees Association, as they were not authorized in dealing with respondent’s grievances, labor disputes etc.  They posted notices at all business places stating that the Association is disestablished which will refrain the respondents from any similar recognition.[5]

           The enactment of the National Labor Relations act brought a complete structure and tried the build the comfortable relations to between the employer and employees. This comprehensive act helped to remove the probable difference between the employer and employee by giving importance both to the employer and employee. Its primary objectives were accomplished and have been one of the successful acts so far.

Reference:

1. Funk & Wagnalls, New Encyclopedia,(2006), National labor Relations act A WRC Media Company.

<http://www.history.com/encyclopedia.do?vendorId=FWNE.fw..na015100.a#FWNE.fw..na015100.a>

  2. National Labor Relations Act, Labor Union Organizing (RLUO) –
2000-2007
<http://www.union-organizing.com/nlra.html>

3. National Labor Relations Act, Retrieved 9 Jan From

<http://home.earthlink.net/~local1613/nlra.html>

4. Justice Stone delivered the opinion of the Court, Retrieved 9 Jan 2008, from

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=303&invol=261

5. Morris, Charles. The Blue Eagle at Work: Reclaiming Democratic Rights in the American Workplace. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2004.

      6. Schlesinger, Arthur M. the Age of Roosevelt: The Coming of the New Deal: 1933- 1935. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co, 1958.

7. National Labor Relations Act, 1935, Class Brain.com

Aug 11, 2006, retrived 9 Jan 2008 from

<http://www.classbrain.com/artteenst/publish/article_122.shtml>

8. Black, Allida M. Casting Her Own Shadow: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Shaping of Postwar Liberalism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996, 79.

 9. The National Labor Relations Act,(2008) EarthLink, Inc. http://home.earthlink.net/~local1613/nlra.html

[1]  The National Labor Relations Act,(2008) EarthLink, Inc. http://home.earthlink.net/~local1613/nlra.html
[2] 1. Funk & Wagnalls, New Encyclopedia,(2006), National labor Relations act A WRC Media Company.

<http://www.history.com/encyclopedia.do?vendorId=FWNE.fw..na015100.a#FWNE.fw..na015100.a
[3]National Labor Relations Act, Labor Union Organizing (RLUO) –
2000-2007
<http://www.union-organizing.com/nlra.html>

[4]. National Labor Relations Act, Retrieved 9 Jan From

<http://home.earthlink.net/~local1613/nlra.html>

[5]  Justice stone delivered the opinion of the Court, Retrieved 9 Jan 2008, from

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=303&invol=261