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Labor Unions Face Contract Talks with Automakers this Summer

The summer of 2015 is going to be long and hot in Detroit, and not just because of the temperature. According a recent article in Fortune Magazine, labor relations in Motor City have been far from smooth because of the of the auto industry’s need to compete globally. Part of the dispute includes the proposition to end the two-tier wage system, which was introduced in 2008 during the recession, whereby newer autoworkers make a lower hourly wage than their veteran counterparts. Because management disputes are not uncommon when it comes to unions, it is important to contact a skilled LA employment attorney should any issues arise for you this year.

Labor Law Basics

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), a federal law, governs the rights of workers to unionize. Section 7 of the NLRA, specifically, gives workers the right to self-organize, including being part of – or forming – a union. Collective bargaining through chosen representation, as well as participating in other activities regarding the same, is also protected. The NLRA prohibits employers from engaging in “unfair labor practices.” Examples include:

  • Seeking control or dominating the union;
  • Firing an employer for union activity;
  • Refusing to bargain in “good faith” with a duly elected union;
  • Restraining, coercing, or interfering with workers; and
  • Discriminating against workers for participating in union activity.

The law also regulates labor unions. The Taft-Hartley Act makes the following actions by a union illegal:

  • Coercing workers to join a union;
  • Forcing an employer to punish a worker for choosing not to become a union member;
  • Charging union dues that are excessive;
  • Refusing to bargain in “good faith” with an employer; and
  • Using violence, intimidation or threats.

Generally, an employer’s failure to discuss or agree to fundamental provisions or taking an unreasonable approach to mandatory provisions in a collective bargaining agreement is prohibited. Mandatory provisions include, but are not limited to, hours, wages, work conditions, fringe benefits, holidays/vacation/sick leave, grievance procedures, health and safety, discipline/discharge, and term/termination.

If an employer or labor organization has engaged in unfair labor practice, the NLRB has the authority to order the act to stop and order compensation for the victim.

Protect Your Rights with an Experienced LA Employment Attorney

If you think your rights have been violated contact an experienced and aggressive LA employment attorney today. The legal professionals at Levine & Blit, PLLC have years of experience assisting clients in labor law cases. Call (212) 967-3000 for your free initial case evaluation. An LA employment attorney with experience in labor law can help you protect your rights as a valuable employee.

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