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Key Legislation

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Labor Relations

  • Format: Self-paced
  • Course Duration: 1 hr 42 mins
  • SHRM Professional Development Credits: 1.50
  • HRCI General Recertification Credits: 1.75
  • Certificate of Completion (after passing quiz)

The day has come…union officials are now able to represent your employees. The workforce voted to unionize! Now what? Taking on the task of developing and maintaining a collective bargaining agreement is nothing to fear! This course is for HR professionals who need to understand the basics of a collective bargaining agreement process and its enforcement in the United States. The lessons will provide an introduction to the world of U.S. labor relations including a review of specific terms and labor law. Labor relations is a fun topic but it could be a little scary for those who are new to it. Take this course and put your mind at ease.


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Title: Key Legislation
Module: Labor Law Overview
Duration: 4:32

Additional key legislation includes the Taft Hartley Act of 1947. It restricted union practices and permitted states to ban unions security agreements. It recognized workers' rights not to organize. This was meant to balance the Wagner Act which gave employees the right to form unions. Taft Hartley basically said workers have a right not to organize. They made closed shops unlawful. Note a closed shop is one in which an employee either has to join a union or they can't work at the location. Now agency fee payers can come to work but not have to participate in a union. They defined a union and declared that unions can also be charged with an unfair labor practice. Unions were also required to bargain in good faith. This is now a balance back to management. Unions could also be sued for breach of contract, restraint or coercion of employees exercise of their rights, and discrimination against the employee for not engaging in union activities.

Note unions can tax their members and sanction them but under the Taft Hartley act, it protects the individual member against union activities.

It also restricted some of the strike activities. It created what's called the “right to work laws” in which an employer doesn’t need to show just cause and the employee doesn’t have to join a union. These amendments allow people to self organize, form or join assistant labor organizations and to bargain collectively through representation of their choosing. And then to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining for mutual aid or protection and to refrain from any or all of the above. This means employees have the right to join a union or not join a union. They have a right to participate in union activities or not. If there’s a strike, and a union member want to cross a picket line and work, the union can’t hold that against them.

In 1959, the Landrum-Griffin Act contained the bill of rights of union members. It forced financial disclosures by unions. It created an election procedure for union officers and partially restricted picketing. It was meant to address corruption happening within unions. It defined unions as organizations and determined a need for them to disclose information so their members understand their rights and rules of being a union member and how the election procedure works. It was meant to protect union members against discriminatory acts by the union itself.

Next is the Weingarten Rights Act. It defines the right of employees to have union representation at investigatory interviews. This is very important when reviewing grievance and disciplinary procedures. Shop stewards can observe or assist and counsel union members during these processes. If management investigates a situation in the workplace and if a union member is going to be questioned, they have the right to have somebody in the room with them as a witness or to assist them. It doesn't have to be a shop steward. It could be any union member. If the union member feels they want somebody in the room, management cannot move forward with the investigation until that person has joined them. Although the union member has a right to say “I don't want representation”, I caution you that you should have a union member in the room when you're doing an investigatory interview or handling discipline. If not, the union could make an argument that if a member did not have representation, they were forced by management to make that decision. They’ll question if the union member was in the right state of mind to make that decision. To avoid any violation of this right, management should always have a union witness in the room whenever they’re questioning a union member.

Instructor: Matthew Kerzner

As an accomplished professional with over 20 plus years of practice in all facets of organizational operations, Matthew’s expertise includes training and development, labor relations, and organizational development, in addition to the recruitment and selection of competent human capital.

Matthew graduated from Nichols College, with a BA in Industrial Organizational Psychology; and also obtained both an...

Matthew's Full Bio

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