A Primer on the National Labor Relations Act

Understanding the importance of law

Federal laws that regulate unions are responsible for drastically changing the functions and look of unions. These ever-changing laws have likewise served as political mirrors since they protect employers from unfair union practices.

They also safeguard employees and labor unions from their employer’s unfair labor practices. One such law is the National Labor Relations Act or NLRA. As a responsible employer, it’s your priority to understand the NLRA, or you might find yourself dealing with union arbitrations in the future.

What is the National Labor Relations Act?

The Passing of the NLRA in 1935 paved the way for labor unions to exercise their legal right to represent employees in employee/employer relationships.

This act likewise established the NLRB or National Labor Relations Board, which is a governing body that polices relationships between employers, employees, and their labor unions.

Under this act, employers are prohibited from:

  • Meddling with or preventing employees from organizing, collectively bargaining, and engaging in collaborative activities to protect themselves against unfair labor practices;
  • Interfering with the establishment of labor unions, or contributing support to these organizations;
  • Discriminating or discharging employees who testify or file charges under the NLRA;
  • Discouraging or encouraging membership in labor unions through discrimination in employment conditions, tenure, or hiring; and
  • Declining to collectively bargain with the majority representative of the employees.

Do note that the NLRA mandates that labor unions and employers negotiate properly with each other and come to an agreement that specifies all employment terms and conditions for employees who are part of labor unions.

For Employees Enforcement of Rights

Employees could take legal action against employers or labor unions that violate NLRA regulations. To begin the action, you should file your claim with the NLRB. Once the NLRB receives your claim, they will investigate it to determine if your employer or labor union violated the NLRA regulations.

If the NLRB deems your labor union or employer guilty of the violation, it would file a complaint or try to settle the dispute. On the other hand, if the NLRB doesn’t find merit in your claim, you could appeal its decision, but you would need help from an experienced lawyer.