The linchpin of labor law is the federal Labor Management Relations Act, also known as the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 141. Section 7 of the Act gives private-sector employees the right to join a union, bargain collectively, and engage in other concerted activities for their mutual aid and protection. Employees also have the statutory right to refrain from any such activities. Section 8 of the Act makes it an unfair labor practice for either an employer or a union to restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of their Section 7 rights. Independent contractors and supervisory employees do not fall within the protection of the Act. The experienced attorneys at Maya Murphy assist clients throughout New York and Connecticut with labor law issues.
Connecticut also has a State Labor Relations Act covering employees who, for whatever reason, are not covered by the NLRA.
If an employee is a member of a union-represented bargaining unit, his wages, hours, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment will be set forth in a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which is negotiated between the union and the employer. By joining, the employee has designated the union as his exclusive representative for the negotiation of such contract terms, to which he is bound.
Virtually every aspect of the workplace is covered by a CBA. They are typically heavily negotiated over a significant period of time and usually contain at least the following provisions:
- Holidays/Sick Time
- Employee Discipline/Grievance Procedure
This last item, employee discipline, is particularly important. A union employee with a complaint of virtually any kind must avail himself of the agreed-upon grievance procedure as his exclusive remedy. The union is afforded a great deal of latitude in (a) deciding whether to pursue a grievance on behalf of a member, and (b) deciding how to prosecute that grievance on a member’s behalf. In all but the most egregious of situations, the union will have the last word on whether or to what extent to pursue a grievance on behalf of an employee.
The law offices of Maya Murphy have dedicated attorneys on hand to help out with your employment law or labor law matters. Contact us online or call 212-682-5700 for our New York City offices or 203-221-3100 for our Connecticut office.