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Labor Law
University of Toledo School of Law
Slater, Joseph E.

 
Labor Law Outline – Slater – Fall 2013 – Casebook = Archibald Cox, Derek Bok, Robert Gorman & Matthew Finkin, LABOR LAW, CASES AND MATERIALS (Foundation Press, 15th ed., 2011)
 
NLRA – National Labor Relations Act
NLRB – National Labor Relations Board
 
I.                    Overview
a.        Labor Law = the regulatory scheme of “collective bargaining” established under NLRA
                                             i.            Relationship b/t EEs & ERs in the presence of a union
                                           ii.            Motivation to join a union
1.       Strength in numbers in negotiations
2.       Protection
3.       Economics (to be treated fairly)
4.       Union will negotiate on basis of seniority, not performance
                                         iii.            Administered by NLRB instead of courts
1.       Primary forum for adjudication is an administrative tribunal
                                         iv.            Largely federal law – states cannot prescribe or affect it
                                           v.            Defining and central theme = unionization and collective bargaining
                                         vi.            Once organized, the union is the single, collective voice for the EE, and they are not forbidden to bargain individually w/ the ER
1.       ER must negotiate in GF for the T&C of employment
                                       vii.            Secondary Activity = Activity a union or supporter engages in appealing to people other than workers and ERs that have labor dispute
b.       NLRA passed in 1935 as Wagner Act; main statute
                                             i.            Can change by
1.       Amendment (Very rare, like the Lions winning Super Bowls)
2.       Interpretation by NLRB (used to be stagnant, but becoming more politicized and changes w/ each new President
                                           ii.            ERs argue NLRA represents adversarial relationships (labor v management) and is not representative of the modern economy
                                         iii.            Unions argue NLRA too weak and does not offer adequate protections for workers. Also, should be expanded to cover more workers.
c.        Three big issues:
                                             i.            What are the lawful ends of union activities?
                                           ii.            What should the lawful means be that unions can employ?
                                         iii.            What should ERs be allowed to do in response?
II.                  Evolution of Labor Law
a.        Pre- NLRA
                                             i.            Labor relations were very dramatic and violent
1.       Bloodiest and most violent history during late 1800’s and early 1900’s (Coronado Coal v United Mine Workers – Violent strike w/ injuries and death in 1920’s)
                                           ii.            First Unions
1.       1850s – Formation of 1st “national” unions representing one craft or occupation in dif localities
2.       1869 – Noble Order of the Knights of Labor
a.        Merged trade union and political endeavors
b.       Only admitted the skilled & unskilled workers, & farmers; excluded professionals
c.        Chicago “Haymarket Riot” ended its popularity
3.       1880s – American Federation of Labor
a.        Did away w/ radicalism of Knights & focused on narrower trade-union philosophy that lessened emphasis on social reform through politics & more on building disciplined unions, which thru CB, would be business-like in improving wages & working conditions
b.       Began political philosophy that lasted thru 1920s of “volunteerism” = a commitment to the private ordering of labor relations thru CB
4.       1890s – United Mine Workers organized 1st permanent industrial union
                                         iii.            Common Law was on ER’s side
1.       To get injunction, ER only had to show a strike was a threat to future GW of economy
2.       End of 1800’s – Boycotts, strikes, etc were criminal conspiracies
a.        Matthews v Shankland (1898)
                                                                                             i.            Criminal conspiracy to secondary boycott (Don’t buy from COs supporting a product)
                                                                                           ii.            Primary boycott not criminal (Don’t buy that product)
b.       Holmes Dissent in Vegelahn v Gunter (1896)
                                                                                             i.            Encouraged social pressure and peaceful interaction
3.       Early 1900’s – ERs stopped using crim law, and used civil law (injunctions, etc)
a.        Bucks Stove v AFL (1908) – Injunction ordered to stop newsletter about boycott of Bucks Stove; ignoring injunction led to imprisonment for a year
                                         iv.            Theoretical Approaches to the Law
1.       Free Labor – EEs & ERs had freedom to K for whatever conditions they wanted
a.        Union wanted freedom to enter into union & negotiate for better rights
2.       At-Will Employment Rule  (Still default rule) – Free to quit work at any time & ER free to fire at any time
3.       All employment presumed to be for one year
                                           v.            Ends Sought by Union
1.       Power to set wages
a.        Pushed for min wage laws (held to be unconstitutional)
b.       Therefore, unions went to strikes and boycotts
2.       Limit hours of work
a.        Pushed for laws to limit hours (held to be unconstitutional)
b.       Therefore, unions went to strikes and boycotts
3.       Control of the work process
4.       Agreements w/ ER requiring workers to be union (union security agreements)
a.        Closed Shop – ER would only hire workers who are already union
b.       Union Shop – After EE is hired, EE required to join the union
                                         vi.            Means Union Employed
1.       Strikes, boycotts (appeals to the public), picket lines
a.        Used against own ER (primary activity) & other related ERs (secondary activity)
                                       vii.            1920’s
1.       Unions organized under American Federation of Labor – Samuel Gombers
2.       Meanwhile, ERs were organizing & using tactics against unions:
a.        National Association of Managers
b.       Company Unions – set up & run by ER & subservient to ER’s interests
c.        ERs sought “yellow dog Ks” (contractual agreement not to join a union) so they could get injunctions against union organizers (“govt by injunction”)
3.       Courts held it was legal for a union to strike against its own ER for higher wages
a.        Most everything else held to be either illegal ends or means, such as:
                                                                                             i.            Sympathy Strikes (most of the time illegal) – more than one union at same ER, one union goes on strike & then other strikes as well
                                                                                           ii.            Secondary Activities (always illegal) – union appeals to any other group (people, workers, other ERs) to take action against the ER
b.       Creation of Modern Labor Law
                                             i.            Antitrust Laws
1.       The Sherman Act (1890)
a.        Declared unlawful “every K, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or w/ foreign nations.”
b.       Loewe v Lawlor – Unions covered by Sherman Act
2.       The Clayton Act (1914)
a.        “No such restraining order or injunction” shall prohibit a case b/t an ER & EEs…involving or growing out of a dispute concerning the T&C of employment
b.       Labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce
c.        Duplex Printing Press v Deering – SC held Act only barred injunctions b/t concerned parties (primary ERs) in an employment dispute. Secondary ERs can still get injunction.
3.       Railway Labor Act (RLA) (1926)
a.        1st major congressional legislation preventing ERs from interfering w/ rights of EEs to have representatives of their own choosing
b.       Covers some private sector EEs not covered by NLRA (such as airline industry)
c.        Mostly same rules as NLRA
                                                                                             i.            Duties to: make/maintain agreements about rates of pay & working conditions, abide by the agreement until settlement procedures are exhausted (negotiation, mediation, voluntary arbitration, & conciliation) before resorting to self-help
d.       Formed National Railroad Adjustment Board & the National Mediation Board
4.       Norris-Laguardia Act of 1932
a.        Made “yellow dog Ks” unenforceable
b.       Barred courts from using injunctions in almost all non-violent labor actions
                                                                                             i.            Secondary activities could no longer be enjoined
                                                                                           ii.            Primary activities for wages, health, hours, etc did not violate antitrust laws
5.       National Industrial Recovery Act (1933)
a.        No enforcement plan
b.       Most ignored it
c.        Struck down as violating the delegation doctrine & separation of powers
6.       Wagner Ac

                                                 i.            NLRB has no jurisdiction over government entities
                                                                                           ii.            Notice requirement so hospitals can arrange for care when/if nurses strike
III.               NLRA Rules
a.        Does not cover everyone in the country – if not covered then can be fired for being pro-union
                                             i.            57% not covered
1.       Excluded ERs
a.        US Govt
b.       Federal Reserve Banks
c.        Federal, State, and Municipal Govts
                                                                                             i.            Most public EEs accorded rights through state & local laws to organize w/ the exception of no right to strike
d.       Railroads & Airlines (RLA)
2.       Excluded EEs
a.        People covered by RLA
b.       Public EEs
c.        Agricultural workers – Explicitly excluded, but some State laws will cover
                                                                                             i.            Narrowly defined – EE must be an integral part of farming operations
1.       Not excluded if work only related to farming
d.       Domestic workers
e.        Independent contractors
                                                                                             i.            Right to Control Test
1.       The more control the individual worker has, the more likely he is independent contractor
2.       Entrepreneurial opportunity for gain or loss
f.         Supervisors
                                                                                             i.            Came in w/ Taft-Hartley Act
                                                                                           ii.            Defined: Any individual having authority, in the interest of the ER, to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward, or discipline other EEs, or responsibility to direct them, or to adjust their grievances, or effectively to recommend such action, if in connection w/ the foregoing the exercise of such authority is not of a merely routine or clerical nature, but requires the use of independent judgment.
                                                                                         iii.            Not free to exempt professional from supervisory status b/c they exercise “independent judgment”
g.        Managers
                                                                                             i.            SC & CL excluded
                                                                                           ii.            Higher up than supervisors
                                                                                         iii.            Defined: Those who formulate & effectuate management policies by expressing the decisions of the ER & have discretion (making policy for the ER)
                                                                                         iv.            College & university faculty are considered managers
                                                                                           v.            Graduate students & medical interns
1.       Bush board held that they were not EEs; they were students
2.       In 2012, the Obama Board decided to reconsider
h.       Confidential EEs
                                                                                             i.            Has access to confidential labor relations info of the ER & acts in a confidential capacity
                                                                                           ii.            Just handling confidential material is not enough
i.         Undocumented workers – Covered but remedies strictly limited