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Basic Labor Law

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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: Basic Labor Law
Module: Labor Law Overview
Duration: 3:52

Many decades ago, there were a number of bloody strikes. People died in massacres fighting for our 8-hour workday, better safety and a myriad of other rights. There were no real laws created to protect the employee, the employer or the union. We started seeing some this legislation in the early 1900s.

First, the Clayton Act in 1914. The court’s limited injunction powers against the union. It clarified that the unions were not a commodity. Labor organizations were not illegal combinations or conspiracies and that they can't really get involved with the trade of goods amongst the states and the employers.

Next, during World War I, the National War Labor Board was created. At this time, many factories converted to producing weaponry to support the war and protect our soldiers and the country. This prevented labor disputes that might weaken the country's military efforts. The War Board didn’t allow strikes to happen during wartime. The labor board was put together to settle issues and help create some peace between the unions and management.

In 1926, the Railway Labor Act was put into place. It made collective bargaining public policy on the nation's interstate railroads. It fostered peace settlements of labor disputes by means of Mediation and Arbitration. It gave management an opportunity to help resolve some of the conflicts they had. The act expanded to include the airline industry in 1936. It also set up a multi-stage mediation procedure that included a “cooling off period”. This really helps to push an investigation and settle disputes between management and labor to keep commerce going, to keep from interfering with airlines as well as the railroads.

The next one was the regulation of wages called the Davis Bacon Act enacted in 1931 associated to construction. If a company hired an employee to work on a federal project, the company had to pay a prevailing wage. If the government was paying for construction projects, the company needs to pay prevailing wages. A perfect example of the Davis Bacon Act in action and a violation is what happened following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. There were massive floods and New Orleans was almost destroyed because of the hurricane. The city brought in people from Texas and Florida to help rebuild the area. FEMA, the federal agency that helps with disaster relief, were paying these people from out of state $10-$15/hour. The union stepped in and informed them that the wage scales for carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other workers were from $20-$25/hour. So, the federal government and the city of New Orleans were in violation of the Davis Bacon Act because they didn't pay prevailing wage, they didn’t use local union workers and pay the proper wages. For federal projects, a company has to follow prevailing wages.

Next, is the Norris-La Guardia Act which was the first attempt at a comprehensive national labor policy which limited the court’s injunction power against union activities.

This is when they made yellow dog contracts unenforceable. This means, in 1932, companies cannot bar its employees from forming a union.

In the next section, I’ll go into details about the National Labor Relations Act.

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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