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Labor And Employment

Labor law in the United States protect both the employer and the employee. The main goal of labor law, in relation to employees, is fair wages and anti-discriminatory practices. Employers are also protected by law from unscrupulous practices of employees. For both sides, labor law facilitates a smooth bargaining relationship. American labor law is governed by federal and state law and case precedents. States, however, are prohibited from interfering with federal statutory law or with the guidelines promulgated by federal government agencies.

The National Labor Relations Act gives employees the right to join labor unions, collectively bargain, and strike. Both employer and employee are given equal footing for the parties to engage in good faith bargaining. The NLRA is a federal law and governs businesses that operate interstate. The NLRA created the National Labor Relations Board to hear disputes under the NLRA and to determine which union will represent a set of employees. The NLRB also investigates and prosecutes cases alleging violations of the NLRA. Specific laws were created to govern employers and employees in select industries. For example, railroad and airline companies and workers are governed by the Railway Labor Act. Employees and agencies in the federal public sector are governed by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Act.

One of the issues arising from labor law would be termination. A federal law, called the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act, requires companies to notify their employees 60 days prior to any plant closing or mass layoffs. A violation of this legal requirement has led to serious repercussions for numerous companies. Plant closings and mass layoffs are two indications of financial troubles and bankruptcy. Another issue arising from labor law is when a company seeks protection under the Bankruptcy Code. A company can either reorganize, in which case the company will terminate only a certain number of employees but retain others for the continuance of business operation, or liquidate, in which case, the company will halt operations and let go of all employees. Amending the collective bargaining agreements of employees a common reorganization tool for debtors. In cases of conflict between the Bankruptcy Code and the NLRA, the NLRA generally prevails.

The labor union is an important aspect of the American industry. Unions do not just bargain for employees, they also take into consideration the welfare of the company, as without the company, no employment would exist. Unions do not just bargain for increased wages and benefits, they also often forgo these things in exchange for job security. Unions give voice to employees and have influenced numerous developments in the areas of labor and employment as they now are today. Unions are thus crucial in the existence of industries. Bargaining, however, with companies, especially if they are major corporations, is difficult, and, without any legal aid, unions may not be able to stand up against these companies. In cases where companies are operating throughout the United States and the world, unions need labor law attorneys who are knowledgeable of both American and foreign labor laws to ensure that workers are protected from unfair labor practices.

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