Unfair Labor Practice

Author:Jeffrey Lehman, Shirelle Phelps

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Conduct prohibited by federal law regulating relations between employers, employees, and labor organizations.

Before 1935 U.S. LABOR UNIONS received little protection from the law. Employers used many tactics to prevent employees from joining unions and to disrupt union activities in the workplace. The passage of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935, also known as the WAGNER ACT (29 U.S.C.A. § 151 et seq.), marked the beginning of affirmative federal government support of unionization and COLLECTIVE BARGAINING. The NLRA prohibits employers from

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taking certain actions against their employees and the unions that represent them. A prohibited action is called an unfair labor practice.

Section 158 of the NLRA lists employer actions that constitute UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES. Section 158 (a)(1) prohibits employers from interfering with the rights of employees to establish, belong to, or aid labor organizations; to conduct collective bargaining through the employees' chosen representatives; and to participate in concerted activities, such as strikes, for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.

Section 158 (a)(3) outlaws employer-formed or -dominated "company unions." Section 158 (a)(3) forbids employers to discriminate in hiring, firing, and other aspects of employment on the basis of union activity. Section 158 (a)(4) prohibits firing or discriminating against any employee because he has filed charges or testified before the agency charged with enforcing the statute. Section 158 (a)(5) requires employers to engage in collective bargaining with employee representatives.


The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935, also known as the WAGNER ACT (29 U.S.C.A. § 151 et seq.), affirms the right of employees to strike in order to force an employer to provide better wages or working conditions. Workers who strike for economic gain may be permanently replaced by the employer, however, as long as the replacement workers do not receive better terms than those offered to the strikers. The NLRA prohibits the replace-ment of workers who strike toprotest an unfair labor practice.

Unions have long sought to amend the NLRA to prohibit the permanent replacement of striking workers in all strikes, not...

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