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Welcome to Labor Law

Labor Law explores the federal scheme of private-sector labor relations under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), including employees’ right to organize, union-employee relations, and collective-bargaining agreement formation and enforcement.


Welcome to Labor Law! Designed for 2Ls and 3Ls, this course explores the federal scheme of private-sector labor relations under the National Labor Relations Act.

The first chapter introduces the National Labor Relations Act, also known as the NLRA, and the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency charged with enforcing the statute. We’ll learn about employees’ organizational rights under the NLRA and how employees may exercise these rights in the workplace.

The second chapter addresses how a union becomes authorized to represent a group of employees. We’ll discuss the process of union-representation elections and how a union may attempt to obtain an employer’s recognition through picketing. This chapter also examines the NLRA’s prohibitions on harmful employer conduct, such as antiunion discrimination and interference with unions.

The third chapter dives into the rules governing collective bargaining, which is the process of negotiation between unions and employers over employment terms and conditions. This chapter covers the union’s role as the exclusive bargaining agent of the employees it represents, the subjects of collective bargaining, and the parties’ duty to bargain in good faith. We’ll also touch on what happens if the parties can’t reach agreement.

The fourth chapter is all about economic weapons, such as strikes, lockouts, and secondary activity. Unions and employers deploy these weapons against each other to strengthen their bargaining positions or achieve other goals. This chapter explores limitations on employees’ right to strike, what happens after a strike, and permissible employer responses to strikes. We’ll also consider an employer’s right to lock employees out of the workplace. Finally, we’ll look at secondary activity, in which unions attempt to pressure neutral third parties during labor disputes, including under what circumstances a union may target consumers with picketing or handbilling.

The fifth chapter explores the rules governing union-employee relations, including a union’s duty to fairly represent all members of a bargaining unit. This chapter covers the extent to which a collective-bargaining agreement may require employees to support a properly recognized union, even employees who choose not to join. The fifth chapter also explains the role that contractual grievance and arbitration processes play in enforcing collective-bargaining agreements.

Last but not least, the sixth chapter provides an overview of issues relating to successorship, preemption, and antitrust in the context of labor law. We’ll address an employer’s duty to bargain after taking over a unionized employer’s business, under what circumstances the NLRA displaces state law, and how the courts reconcile labor law and antitrust law.

By the time you finish this course, you’ll be ready to negotiate your labor-law final with ease. Let’s get started.