The National Labor Relations Act Essay

The National Labor Relations Act, 494 words essay example

Essay Topic: act, labor

The NLRA gives the power to each state to govern their own labor union laws, so long as they are acting within the terms of the NLRA. Kansas, along with 24 other states is considered a right-to-work state, which means a worker has the right to choose not to join a union or pay union dues. The non-right-to-work states have other options and vary by state. Some states are considered closed shop, which means employees must become union members when they are hired. Union shop is another option, and it means employees must join a union within a certain period of time after they are hired. The final option is an agency shop, which requires an employee to pay fees to the union even if they are not a member since they reap many benefits of union services.
Court cases involving Labor Unions
Freidrichs v. California Teacher Association is a pending Supreme Court case concerning the union of the California Teachers Association. California is an agency state, which means non-members must pay union fees for collective bargaining services. Rebecca Friedrichs is calling for an end to agency fees, and the union is afraid that if there is an end to agency fees, too many people will become 'free-riders' (enjoying the benefits of union services but not paying for them) and drop their memberships. Thus the union will fail to be adequately funded.
Rebecca Freidrichs claims the union is taking away her first amendment right to the freedom of speech, because she would be unable to represent herself in a dispute with her employer. The Teachers Association claims the first amendment is not violated because a portion of the fees are reimbursed annually dependent upon how much the union spends on such cases.
United States v. Enmons is a case from 1973 involving violence during a labor strike. During a strike, union members fired guns at three company transformers, drained oil from another company transformer, and blew up a transformer substation. The case was to find out if the offending union members were in violation of the Hobbs act, which outlaws extortion in interstate commerce.
The court recognized that the violence was wrongful, but found that it did not violate the Hobbs Act, as the act did not specify the use of violence in efforts to achieve union objectives. To the surprise and dismay of many, the case was dismissed.
Pros of Labor Unions
As with most things, there are good things and bad things about labor unions. One of the good things is that unions help keep employee satisfaction up. When employees become disgruntled by their workplace, they are more likely to leave their job, perform less satisfactorily, or even sustain physical ailments due to workplace stress. Unions can help settle disputes, reign in attrition, and help workers feel like their complaints get heard. Employees who report higher job satisfaction are generally more productive and healthy and are more likely to continue working at their current jobs (Budd, 2014)

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