The International’s Legal Department has updated a plain English book on labor and employment law for non-lawyers to help locals use the law to more effectively organize and represent their members. The book, titled How to Use the Law to Better Organize, Bargain and Represent Workers: The ABCs of Labor and Employment Law, is available here. The table of contents is here.
The “Using the Law to Organize” chapter covers:
• supervisory status;
• unfair labor practices; and
• National Labor Relations Board procedure.
“Organizing and Mobilizing Workers at the Workplace” discusses the right of workers to:
• distribute, solicit and talk to each other and to customers;
• wear stickers and buttons; and
• comment about the company on social media.
This chapter also explains the rights of:
• off duty and off-site workers to access the interior and exterior areas of their company’s facilities to engage in protected activities; and
• union members or staff to get hired as “salts” to help organize non-union companies.
The ABCs also includes a chapter on NLRB elections.
The ABCs explains the law governing union communications: defamation, libel, and slander, and outlines what unions should know about blast texts and robocalls.
The “Collective Bargaining” chapter discusses that the company’s obligation to bargain begins when workers win their election and emphasizes the obligation of companies to bargain over virtually every matter that affects workers’ lives at the workplace (inside and outside of contracts), even after the company signs the contract and after the contract expires.
The bargaining chapter emphasizes the broad obligation of companies to provide information and documents, and a roadmap on how to avoid a bargaining impasse. The chapter also discusses the rights of union representatives to access the workplace, even if the contract does not contain a visitation clause.
The bargaining chapter concludes by discussing the risk of unions waiving the company’s obligation to bargain if unions fail to timely demand bargaining and suggests ways to write clearer contract language that better protects worker rights.
The “Strike and Picketing” chapters discuss:
• the right to strike, including sit down strikes;
• unfair labor practice strikes; and
• secondary and recognitional picketing.
The book also explains the right of union members to witnesses (typically stewards or union representatives) for disciplinary meetings or “Weingarten” rights, and a union’s duty of fair representation.
Finally, the book summarizes virtually every employment law, including:
• OSHA, ADA, FMLA and HIPPAA;
• wage and hour laws;
• anti-discrimination laws like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 enforced by the EEOC and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act or the ADEA;
• ERISA and COBRA, the federal law that requires companies to offer to extend health insurance coverage for terminated workers or workers who quit;
• immigration laws;
• the WARN Act, or the law that requires companies to provide workers and unions with notice of plant or store closings; and
• election laws.