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 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. The Board 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 Unions section of the HR Library​.

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.

Alison Loomis is an associate in Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s San Francisco office and is a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Department. Her practice focuses on labor relations under the National Labor Relations Act 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. She has represented management in unfair labor practice proceedings, labor arbitrations, and in litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies.

Monica Rodriguez is an associate in the Los Angeles office and is a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Department. Ms. Rodriguez has effectively defended employers against unfair labor practice charges and managed strike related matters. She has also assisted in developing lawful union avoidance plans, training management teams in the skills and knowledge necessary to avoid unionization, and lawfully responding to active organizing campaigns. Ms. Rodriguez also represents employers in single plaintiff and collective action employment matters, including discrimination, wage and hour, and wrongful termination cases.

More information on Ms. Loomis and Ms. Rodriguez and the firm can be found on Seyfarth Shaw’s website.