Employment and labor law covers a broad range of laws and regulations affecting the relationships between employers and employees. Major areas covered by these laws include labor disputes, labor-management relations, labor litigation, employment discrimination, wrongful termination, unfair competition, wage and hour litigation, and more. Employees who are dealing with any employment or labor law issue at their workplaces might benefit by speaking to experienced employment and labor litigation attorneys. The lawyers at Swartz Swidler can evaluate potential cases and help their clients understand their rights as employees and the steps they can take to protect them.
What Is a Labor Dispute?
To understand what a labor dispute is, it is important to understand the U.S. labor laws. Labor disputes arise when two parties within an organization have disagreements. In most cases, these disputes arise between employers and employees. Labor disputes normally involve disagreements about pay, benefits, procedures, conditions of employment, and the number of hours worked per week.
Unresolved labor disputes can result in strikes or lockouts. These types of actions can result in employer consequences, including reduced profits, a lack of production, or forced closings. Labor disputes are fairly common and can arise between other parties beyond the employer and its employees, including disputes between several managers or employees.
Throughout history, labor disputes have led to changes in political, legal, and social policies and have resulted in major laws. Many disputes happen when employees and employees have different understandings of their respective roles. When a labor dispute arises, it is important to promptly address it to prevent the company from being harmed.
Different Types of Labor Disputes
While there are many different types of labor disputes, they can generally be broadly categorized into two major types, including rights disputes and interest disputes. Rights disputes are labor disputes over such things as working conditions, opportunities, and wages. Interest disputes are labor disputes that happen because of disagreements about the interests of employees about their pay, benefits, and other related matters.
What Causes Labor Disputes?
Before a labor dispute can be resolved, it is important to understand its causes. Some of the most common causes of labor disputes include the following:
- Economic causes, including bonuses, compensation, or working conditions
- Management causes, including failure to recognize unions, leadership style differences, concerns about job security, or communication issues
- Legal or political causes, including political changes, union issues, or interference
- Psychological causes, including differences in motivating factors, authority problems, unfair treatment, or a lack of appreciation
A major cause of labor disputes is a disagreement between employees and employers about their expectations for pay. The amount of compensation earned by employees is provided according to how much the employees’ labor is perceived to be worth. Employers and employees might evaluate compensation differently, causing a labor dispute.
Working conditions are another major cause of labor disputes. Employees who are dissatisfied with their working conditions might end up in a dispute with their employers when poor conditions go uncorrected. Power struggles between employees working within different roles might also arise.
Regardless of the underlying cause of a labor dispute, it is important for it to be addressed quickly to avoid severe harm to the company involved.
Preventing Labor Disputes
Employers can take basic steps to prevent labor disputes and increase their employees’ satisfaction with their jobs. They should evaluate the salaries and wages paid to their employees to ensure that they are reflective of current patterns of inflation and market conditions. Work areas should be well-equipped, furnished, and maintained in a clean and safe condition. Employers should make sure that all managers and employees perform the job duties expected of them and motivate their employees with opportunities and clear direction. Employers should encourage managers to demonstrate positive attitudes toward employees and take steps to keep unions from becoming overly politicized.
How Labor Disputes Are Settled
Even when employers take steps to try to prevent labor disputes from arising, they can still occur. Labor disputes should be promptly addressed. Collective bargaining is a way that employees and managers can talk about possible solutions to the problems causing the disputes. Employers should also implement steps for resolving problems within the organization and might consider a process of conciliation or mediation to facilitate resolutions to grievances.
In some cases, adjudication by a governmental agency is necessary as a legal remedy to resolve a labor dispute. Administrative law judges at the regional level might issue decisions that lead to an end of a dispute. However, a party can appeal a decision at the regional level to the National Labor Relations Board, and if the party is unhappy with the decision from the NLRB, it can be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Labor litigation can involve complex issues and charged emotions, making it important to work with an experienced labor and employment attorney throughout the process.
Talk to an Experienced Labor Litigation Attorney
When issues arise under the National Labor Relations Act, including unfair work practices or union organizing campaigns, it is important to work with an experienced employment and labor law firm that is experienced in handling employment and labor litigation matters. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler handle many different types of employment and labor law matters, including discrimination, wrongful termination, unfair practices, wage and hour litigation, union organizing, collective bargaining, and more. Contact us today to learn about your rights and the potential legal remedies at (856) 685-7420.