Representation Without Intimidation: Securing Workers’ Right to Choose Under the National Labor Relations Act

Source: Arlen Specter and Eric S. Nguyen, Harvard Journal on Legislation, Vol. 45, No. 2, 2008

From the abstract:
Union representation elections are often conducted in an environment of intimidation and coercion, denying employees the freedom to choose whether they wish to be represented by a union. In the United States, both unions and employers have engaged in unfair labor practices in pursuit of their own agendas – misleading employees about the consequences of choosing union representation and, in extreme cases, threatening employees with physical harm. This Policy Essay by Senator Arlen Specter and Eric Nguyen argues that current federal labor law fails to address the problem of unfair labor practices in union representation elections. It discusses how current law provides only toothless remedies that do not deter abuses, and how implementation of these limited remedies by the National Labor Relations Board is plagued by delays. The Essay then surveys the experiences of Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom to illuminate how aspects of foreign labor laws could reduce procedural delays, lead to more responsive unions, and encourage voluntary negotiation between employers and unions if implemented in the United States. The Policy Essay concludes by posing questions that Congress should address while developing new legislation to secure employees’ right to choose union representation.

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