Thanks to the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) workers are protected against unfair labor practices. Not all injustices or contract violations are “unfair” under the law. Examples of unfair labor practices include disciplining or terminating workers for union activities and refusing to bargain with a union over workplace issues.
The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or the “Board”) allows workers to file charges of unfair labor or union practices. The charge is filed with a Regional Director and prompts an investigation to determine whether formal action should be taken. If the Regional Director determines the issue is not serious, they will refuse to issue a complaint. This decision may be appealed to the NLRB General Counsel. In cases of legitimate unfair labor practices, the Regional Director will issue a complaint and notice of hearing. The respondent has fourteen (14) days to file an answer to the complaint. Charges can be withdrawn before or after a complaint is issued with agency approval. Settlement of a case may also occur before or after a complaint is issued.
The NLRB must petition for interim injunctive relief under Section 10(l) when an investigation shows that a union’s conduct violates certain laws, including the prohibition against secondary boycott pressure.
The NLRB can apply for temporary restraining orders in instances where the charging party will suffer substantial and irreparable injury unless the order is issued. Similarly, once a complaint has been issued, the Board may decide to seek appropriate injunctive relief from a district court under Section 10(j) of the NLRA. District courts will typically issue Section 10(j) injunctions when two basic requirements are met: (1) there’s reasonable cause to believe that an unfair labor practice has been committed, and (2) when an injunction is necessary.
If the complaint proceeds to a hearing, then an administrative law judge presides over the trial and decides the case. The Board can remand the case for further action if necessary. Courts of Appeals can enforce, set aside, or remand any part of the case. The United States Supreme Court reviews all appeals from the Courts of Appeals.
Monarch Law is here to help employees, union members, management and employers through the process. Call us today for a consultation.