Labor Law Outline:
I. Background and Foundations of Labor Law
1865 – 1914: the industrialization of America; there were corporate empires under the control of just a few men; urban migration was at its height; organizational efforts among workers started as early as 1927 (in Philadelphia) to little avail; second waive of organization effort occurred in the 1850’s when the first national groups were formed and negotiation and arbitration were stressed for the first time; this effort was followed up by the Knights of Labor (KOL) in the 1880’s, who developed a 3rd level of union organizing – – a confederation of local and national bodies into one large unit; the (KOL) was an alliance between industrial workers and farmers and conflicting interests led to the groups quick demise
American Federation of Labor (AFL): 1880 – 1914; formed when the national craft unions combined; Samuel Gompers was the first AFL President; initially unwilling to surrender jurisdiction to industrial organizations; sought to represent particular groups of skilled workers within plants and companies; had two major tenants
1) Economic unionism – accepted capitalism and dedicated itself to increasing worker bargaining power in dealing with management; radical political reforms and the notion of the union as a political party were rejected; collective bargaining became the primary method for achieving economic gains; reliance was placed on negotiation to settle disputes and obtain advances
2) Exclusive union jurisdiction – to use collective strength effectively, the AFL sought to have all workers in a single occupation (or range of jobs) united, and competition for jobs curtailed; the AFL thus adopted the principle of exclusive jurisdiction = each national (or international) union would have its own sphere of jurisdiction into which no other union could trespass
Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations in 1937 (CIO): other than the enactment of the NLRA, perhaps the most significant development in labor union history during the 1930’s; consisted of the great mass production industries which had theretofore been scarcely touched by labor unions; changed the labor movement as well as the nature and processes of collective bargaining; Founders – John L. Lewis, Sidney Hillman, David Dubinsky; formed from 8 officers of AFL international unions in 1937; embraced the workers in entire industries or groups of industries, i.e. United Automobile Workers of America, United Steelworkers of America, Textile Workers of America, etc.; they sought to penetrate the textile, furniture, food processing, and chemical plants in the South as well; primarily a movement of unskilled workers (considered craft organizations inappropriate where work skills were easily acquired and produced no group solidarity); generally pressed for flat wage increases across the board which led to quicker wage increases for these workers than the skilled; communist influence
Truce: in 1953, a no-raiding pact was drawn up and approved by 65 AFL affiliates and 29 CIO affiliates; under its terms, the signatory unions agreed not to attempt to displace another union and raid its membership in any plant where an ‘established bargaining relationship’ existed; disputes involving the application of the agreement were referred to arbitration if the parties could not agree amongst themselves; plans for total unification developed rapidly after that; in 1955, they drafted a constitution and did unify
“Strike”: definition = workers do nothing/just stop working; because they can’t reach agreement with their employers/are under no contractual obligation to
pulsory retirement; applies to anyone over 40
i. ERISA (1974): Pension
j. Warn statute (1980s): Mandated notice (60 days) for Ees to know about layoffs
k. ADA (1990)
l. Family and Medical Leave Act (1993): Unpaid leave up to 12 weeks a year for ppl to care of newborns or family w/ serious medical condition.
Early use of criminal sanctions against unions: a conspiracy charge against employees striking for higher wages was first reported as early as 1806 (Philadelphia Cordwainer’s Case); the court held that the combination (the union) itself, quite apart from its actions, was illegal.
Elimination of the criminal conspiracy doctrine: Commonwealth v. Hunt (p. 8); the court held that justifiable objectives validated the union’s attempt to impose a closed shop. ‘Abuse’ – actual or intended – had to be shown in order to find any union activity unlawful; This ended the era of criminal sanctions against union organizing activities; conspiracy was unlawful unless it could be justified; but if they didn’t use any unlawful means or any unlawful objectives, then their group action was justified; conspiracy was a criminal doctrine and in order to bring it to bear on real life strikers there had to be a jury and the jury h ad to convict the strikers and rarely in the history of our country has the importance of a jury been so great; most times they didn’t want to convict strikers and when they did they only assigned minimum penalties