Coronavirus Information and Update: Spring 2021 Plans

Labor Law

  • Typically offered every other year

NOTE: This course description is new for the 2016-2017 academic year. You may read the prior course description immediately below this new one. 


This course focuses on the laws governing collective bargaining by unions and employers,  the relationship between individuals and the union, and the ways that these collective bargaining laws also govern concerted activities in non-union workplaces. Both the Labor-Management Relations Act and state collective bargaining law for public employees will be examined. Starting in the non-union sector, the course examines various rulings declaring company handbook provision for employees to be unlawful, or finding unlawful the discipline of employees expressing opinions about working conditions in the social media or otherwise. The course then examines the American labor law concept of “exclusive representation” and reviews the ways that unions win or lose the legal right to represent “bargaining units” of employees. The course then shifts to the duty to bargain in good faith that arises when a union becomes the legal exclusive bargaining agent, and the laws affecting the interpretation and application of collective bargaining contracts resulting from the bargaining process. Grievance arbitration is explored as well as interest arbitration. The course then shifts to the various ways the parties can and cannot employ economic coercion to promote their views about what the wages, hours, and conditions of employment should apply via strikes, boycotts, lockouts, and unilateral changes in working conditions. Finally, the course reviews the various ways the rights of individuals vis a vis their union are protected by the labor laws.

NOTE: The below course description applied prior to the 2016-2017 academic year.

DescriptionThis course focuses on the laws governing collective bargaining by unions and employers, and the laws regulating the relationship between individuals and their unions. Topics covered include: (1) procedures and principles governing both the selection and decertification of unions; (2) the free speech, access and other rights of management and unions during an organizational campaign; (3) the duty to bargain in good faith; (4) the unilateral change doctrine; (5) the laws respecting strikes, lockouts, boycotts, and other concerted action by employees; (6) the duty of fair representation; (7) compulsory dues and other payment to unions; (8) the enforcement of collective bargaining agreements in grievance-arbitration and/or court action; and (9) the procedural and substantive law governing “unfair labor practices,” by both employers and unions.