Unions

This section provides an overview of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), or “the Act,” which is the federal law that governs the relationship between most employers and unions in the private sector.

This section discusses situations in which the NLRA imposes obligations on non-union employers. The federal agency that enforces and administers the Act, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board), has issued a number of decisions during the course of the current presidential administration that greatly expanded what are considered “protected concerted activities” under the Act.

These include decisions invalidating class action waivers contained in employment arbitration agreements, limiting the ability of employers to keep workplace investigations confidential, and making it difficult to draft a social media policy that makes sense from a business standpoint and also will withstand scrutiny by the NLRB. As would be expected, the Board has also issued several recent decisions that changed the dynamic of the union-employer relationship, as it historically has been known.

Labor law is a dynamic area and it is always difficult to know how to respond to newly-issued Board decisions, especially when the decisions make fundamental changes in the law.

As a result, an employer that finds itself facing a union organizing effort, a claim for violation of employee rights under the NLRA, or who otherwise comes to the attention of the NLRB, should seek assistance from counsel experienced in labor relations matters.​

Acknowledgments

CalChamber thanks Seyfarth & Shaw for its contributions to the Labor Relations in Private Employment chapter.

With more than 800 attorneys in the U.S., London, Shanghai, Melbourne and Sydney, Seyfarth Shaw LLP offers a national platform and an international gateway to serve your changing business and legal needs in litigation, employment, corporate, real estate and employee benefits.

Bryan Bienias is an associate in Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s Chicago office and is a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Department. His practice focuses on labor relations under the National Labor Relations Act and in the public sector, and employment litigation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and other state and local statutes. He has represented management in unfair labor practice proceedings, labor arbitrations, and in litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies.

Jennifer Holly is a senior associate in the Labor & Employment department of Seyfarth Shaw’s Sacramento office, and member of its Labor & Employee Relations, Class Action, Workplace Counseling & Solutions, and Employment Litigation practice groups. She represents management in all areas of labor and employment law, and has broad experience representing employers in traditional labor relations matters, including representation elections and collective bargaining. Ms. Holly also has substantial experience litigating wage and hour, wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, and trade secret matters.

Casey McCoy is an associate in Seyfarth Shaw's Los Angeles office and is a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Department. Her practice focuses on labor relations and employment litigation. She has assisted with unfair labor practice proceedings before the NLRB, strikes and secondary boycotts, and labor arbitrations. She also represents employers in single plaintiff and collective-action employment matters, including discrimination, wage and hour, and wrongful termination cases.

More information on Mr. Bienias, Ms. Holly and Ms. McCoy and the firm can be found on Seyfarth Shaw’s website.​