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Transcript of A Mackinac Center Report Michigan Labor · PDF file • How to reform federal and Michigan...

  • Michigan Labor Law: What Every Citizen Should Know

    A Mackinac Center Report

    Workers’ and Employers’ Rights and Responsibilities, and Recommendations for a More Government-Neutral Approach to Labor Relations

    by Robert P. Hunter, J. D., L L. M

    Michigan Labor Law: What Every Citizen Should Know

    August 1999

  • The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonpartisan research and educational organization devoted to improving the quality of life for all Michigan citizens by promoting sound solutions to state and local policy questions. The Mackinac Center assists policy makers, scholars, business people, the media, and the public by providing objective analysis of Michigan issues. The goal of all Center reports, commentaries, and educational programs is to equip Michigan citizens and other decision makers to better evaluate policy options. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is broadening the debate on issues that has for many years been dominated by the belief that government intervention should be the standard solution. Center publications and programs, in contrast, offer an integrated and comprehensive approach that considers:

    All Institutions. The Center examines the important role of voluntary associations, business, community and family, as well as government.

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    Committed to its independence, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy neither seeks nor accepts any government funding. It enjoys the support of foundations, individuals, and businesses who share a concern for Michigan’s future and recognize the important role of sound ideas. The Center is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. For more information on programs and publications of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, please contact:

    Mackinac Center for Public Policy 140 West Main Street

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  • Michigan Labor Law: What Every Citizen Should Know

    by Robert P. Hunter, J. D., LL. M.

    ________________________

    Copyright © 1999 by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Midland, Michigan

    Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the author are properly cited. The contents of this report are intended as general information on an issue of

    public policy and are not intended as legal advice in any manner whatsoever. Readers should not act upon this information

    without benefit of professional legal counsel.

    ISBN: 1-890624-15-2

    S99-05

    Guarantee of Quality Scholarship

    The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is committed to delivering the highest quality and most reliable research on Michigan issues. The Center guarantees that all original factual data are true and correct and that information attributed to other sources is accurately represented.

    The Center encourages rigorous critique of its research. If the accuracy of any material fact or reference to an independent source is questioned and brought to the Center’s attention with supporting evidence, the Center will respond in writing. If an error exists, it will be noted in an errata sheet that will accompany all subsequent distribution of the publication, which constitutes the complete and final remedy under this guarantee.

  • Michigan Labor Law: What Every Citizen Should Know The Mackinac Center for Public Policy

    August 1999 iii

    Michigan Labor Law: What Every Citizen Should Know

    by Robert P. Hunter, J. D., LL. M.

    Table of Contents Executive Summary ................................................................................................... 1

    Part I: An Overview of Labor Unions 1. Introduction ......................................................................................................... 3

    The Prevalence of Unions in Michigan ........................................................... 3 Michigan Citizens Have Little Knowledge of Unions and Labor Law ............ 4

    2. History of American Labor Law and Unions ................................................... 4 Government’s Three Historical Approaches to Labor Unions ........................ 5 The Modern Approach to Labor Unions .......................................................... 7 The Beginnings of the American Labor Movement ........................................ 7 The National Labor Relations Act and the Growth of Organized Labor ...... 9

    3. How Labor Unions Operate ............................................................................. 11 How and Why Unions Are Created ................................................................ 11 How Collective Bargaining Works ................................................................. 12 Important Differences between Government and Private-Sector Unions .... 13 Union Security and Membership Obligations ................................................ 17 Employee Rights in a Unionized Workplace .................................................. 18 Advantages of Union Representation ............................................................. 18 Disadvantages of Union Representation ........................................................ 19

    4. Employee Legal Rights and Opportunities in Unionized and Nonunionized Workplaces ................................................................................ 21

    Unionized Workers’ Employment Rights and Opportunities ........................ 21 Right to Resign Membership or to Not Join a Union .................................. 22 Right to Freedom of Speech ........................................................................ 22 Right to Freedom of Religion ...................................................................... 24

    Nonunionized Workers’ Employment Rights and Opportunities ................. 24 Participatory Employee Involvement Programs .......................................... 25 Constitutional Employment Protections for Government Employees ......... 26

    Mandated Employment Laws and the Erosion of the “At-Will” Doctrine ... 26 NLRA Applies to All Private-Sector Workers ............................................ 27 The Proliferation of Employment Laws ...................................................... 28

  • Michigan Labor Law: The Mackinac Center for Public Policy What Every Citizen Should Know

    iv August 1999

    Part II: Modern Labor Relations: The Legal Framework and Its Dynamics

    1. Compulsory Unionism for Private-Sector Employees ................................... 29 The National Labor Relations Board and “Unfair Labor Practices” ........... 29

    Employer Unfair Labor Practices ................................................................ 30 Union Unfair Labor Practices ...................................................................... 31

    The Union Organizing Drive .......................................................................... 33 Union Organizing Techniques ..................................................................... 33 Gathering Information on the Union ............................................................ 34 Understanding All Aspects of Unionization ................................................ 34 Union Solicitation and Distribution of Material .......................................... 36 Union Organizers’ Access to Employer Premises ....................................... 37 Unfair Labor Practices during an Organizing Drive .................................... 37

    The Union Representation Election Process .................................................. 39 Petitioning for an Election ........................................................................... 39 Setting the Terms of the Election ................................................................ 40 The Excelsior List and the Representation Election .................................... 41

    Contract Negotiations and Strikes .................................................................. 42 Contract Changes ......................................................................................... 42 The Right to Strike ....................................................................................... 43

    Filing Unfair Labor Practice Charges ........................................................... 44

    2. Compulsory Unionism for Michigan and Federal Government Employees .................................................................................... 45

    Michigan’s Public Employment Relations Act ..............................................