Laws were created to protect the rights of the people. As for the labor law, one reason that it was created is to protect the employees’ right to unionize. It was intentionally created to have a balance in bargaining power between employers and employees.
The labor law, which is governed by the state and federal law and by the regulations and decisions of administrative agencies, allows employers and employees to join or participate in some activities that would fulfill their demands, such as strikes, lockouts, picketing, seeking injunctions, grievances, and on-the-job protests.
National Labor Relations Act
After a chain of furious strikes throughout a number of many industries in the first half of the 1930s, the National Labor Relations Act, also known as the Wagner Act, was enacted by the U.S. Congress in July 1935 to control the labor-management relations of business firms engaged in interstate commerce.
The NLRA gives protection to employees that are trying to form labor unions and it formalizes the creating process of these unions. It also regulates employer-employee bargaining and union relations on a national level.
The NLRA assures the rights of employees. Their rights to organize, form, join, or assist labor unions, their right to bargain collectively by means of their chosen representatives, their right to participate in other concerted activities for the intention of collective bargaining or any other mutual protection and aid, and their right to freely choose whether or not to belong in a union.
Two Principles of the National Labor Relations Act
Senator Robert Wagner, who administered the drafting of the NLRA, declared that two principles were embodied in its provisions. The two principles are the following:
Democracy must exist in the industry as in the government
Employees can only participate in the decisions that will have an effect in their lives in the workplace if permitted to organize unions and bargain collectively by means of their own chosen representatives.
2. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
The NLRA created the National Labor Relations Board to implement the rules and regulations of the National Labor Relations Act. Its primary duty is to administer union certification elections and to investigate complaints of labor law violation or unfair labor practices by unions and employers.
The NLRB prohibited employers from committing any labor law violation and unfair labor practices that may possibly stop employees from negotiating a union contract or discourage them from organizing labor unions.
The NLRB, which is an independent agency of the federal government, assists employees in forming a union through secret ballot elections presided by the NLRB. It also encourages and facilitates a collective bargaining agreement between the union and the employer.
Unfair Labor Practices
Any unfair labor practice committed by an employer is a violation of the labor laws. The following are the unfair labor practices of an employer:
- Interfering employees from exercising his/her rights guaranteed in the NLRA
- Interfering or dominating with the administration or formation of any labor unions
- Discriminating workers regarding any terms or conditions of employment for participating in labor unions or collective activities
- Retaliating because of cooperating with the NLRB or filing unfair labor practice charges by an employee
- Refusing to bargain with representatives of the union in good faith
Labor Law Violation
The National Labor Relations Act has provisions that must be followed by employers; any violation is a ground for a worker to file a case before a court for appropriate penalties to the employers. These laws must be strictly followed to avoid any legal injunction.
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