There is a large imbalance in corporate America and its workforce. Prior to the COVID pandemic, statistics show that a large portion of today’s employees are changing their expectations around “work”. Whether it be pay, work location, hours or employer values, the traditional idea of a ‘career’ and the priorities surrounding it are shifting. A labor movement is no doubt occurring in America. However, does this movement mean that Unions are on the verge of a major comeback? Through an analysis of case law, NLRB decisions, and commentary on the ever-evolving landscape of labor relations, this paper aims to answer the question of whether the renewed push towards unionization is the appropriate way to solve the modern problems that exist surrounding the dichotomy between workers and their corporate superiors.
· Why does America even have unions?
o The origins of the Wagner Act and the National Labor Relations Board:
o The act protects employees that want to unionize and the board is who is responsible for regulating the case law around Unions
o From Farmers to Factory workers, American workers were forced into a new profession on account of The Civil War.
· What did the Pre-Wagner Act Workforce look like?
o Coal Miners and Factory Workers; A Deadly Profession
o Over worked and underpaid, this time in America looked very different from the Modern day workforce we know today.
· Labor Unrest and the Power of the Strike
o Bringing a balance between employee and employer
o Appalling working conditions and lack of oversight and employer accountability lead to increasing labor unrest in the late 1800’s
· Passage of the Wagner Act and the Formation of National Labor Relations Board
o The mounting tensions between employer and employee forced Congress to take action
o The board hears disputes between employers and employees and makes decisions on cases involving unfair labor practices, which sets case law precedent for years to come.
· Case Law Precedents
o NLRB v. Gissel Packing Co., Inc
§ In favor of employers, avoiding union vote
o Lutheran Heritage
§ Facially neutral rule violates Section 7 protected activity
o The Boeing Cases
§ A Trump administration decision: pro-employer
· Current Events
o New General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo Aims to Make Big Changes
§ Biden administration makes is clear they are pushing a pro-union agenda
o Getting Back to Joy Silk
§ Reversal of Gissel Packing Co
o Attacking Boeing and Re-Instating the “Reasonably Construed” Standard
§ Returning to Lutheran Heritage?
o Why Isn’t a Union-Friendly Administration Translating to Increasing Union Membership?
§ Increased interest in Unions does not automatically translate into higher membership
§ Do Americans want unions or better work life balance?
§ Are employers more focused on avoiding Unions by implementing policy instead of creating better work environment?
§ Is the government more focused on it’s agenda than what Americans are potentially wanting?
§ Such as :
· 4 day work weeks
· Work from home
· Paid FMLA with more time off
· Better pay
· Better Benefits