Unions have developed a special vocabulary to describe much
of what we do. Definitions are given here for the most commonly
Employees added to the bargaining unit once a union is
certified as a representative of the bargaining unit.
See Americans with Disabilities Act.
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ):
A civil service appointee of the National Labor Relations
Board who conducts unfair labor practice hearings in the
region where such cases originate.
Form of arbitration often referred to as fact finding where
the decision of the arbitrator is not binding.
A contract provision under which employees who do not join
the union are required to pay a collective bargaining
service fee instead. This service fee is usually the same as
monthly dues. In some states public workers choose to pay
service fee based on a percentage of the Union’s budget
spent on representing the bargaining unit’s time and money
spent on organizing and political action, not considered to
be directly representing members.
Alter Ego Employer:
An employer who changes the name and outward appearance of a
business but is in fact the same employer. An employer
cannot rid himself of his obligation to recognize the
legitimate bargaining representative through an alter ego.
See Administrative Law Judge.
Americans with Disabilities Act:
National law forbidding discrimination against employees on
the basis of disability and requiring reasonable
accommodations for qualified disabled employees. The ADA is
enforced by the Equal Opportunities Employment Commission (EEOC)
and by private lawsuit.
A form of investment plan usually provided as a retirement
plan that provides for income for a specified period of
time, such as a number of years or for life.
A method of settling a labor-management dispute by having an
impartial third party decide the issue. The decision of the
third party (arbitrator) is usually binding.
Area Standards Picketing:
A form of picketing with the purpose of encouraging an
employer to observe the standards in that industry in that
locality. This kind of picketing has formed legal
restrictions than picketing to force an employer to
recognize a union or to impress employees noneconomic
Collective bargaining agreement which covers all the
unionized employers and their employees in a specific
geographical and industrial setting.
A collective bargaining agreement which governs a group of
employers who ban together for mutual aid when bargaining
with labor organizations. All employers belonging to the
association are bound by the agreement that was negotiated
by the association and the union.
Reduction in the labor force of a company through natural
causes such as voluntary quits, retirement, or death as
opposed to layoffs.
A union card filled out by pro-union workers during a
representation campaign. The card usually specifies the
union as a collective bargaining agent of the employees and
must be dated and signed. The NLRB will accept 30% of the
employees signatures on cards or petitions as the "showing
of interest" required to conduct an election. Usually unions
will not file for an election unless a majority of the
bargaining unit members have signed authorization cards.
The final decision of an arbitrator which is binding on both
Providing a greater wage increase near the end of a
See Business Agent.
Union designated by a government agency, such as the
National Labor Relations Board, or recognized voluntarily by
the employer, as the exclusive representative of all
employees in the bargaining unit for purposes of collective
The rights outlined in Section 7 of the National Labor
Relations Act. Rights of workers to negotiate the terms and
conditions of employment through chose representatives. The
bargaining agent is designated by a majority of the workers
in a bargaining unit to represent the group in collective
A group of workers who bargain collectively with the
employer. The unit may include all the workers in a single
location or in a number of locations, or it may include only
the workers in a single craft or department. Final unit is
determined by the NLRB, or agreed to jointly by the union
and the employer.
The straight time rate of pay, excluding premiums and
Benefits Cafeteria Plan:
A benefit program that offers a choice between taxable
benefits, including cash, and non-taxable health and welfare
benefits. The employee decides how his or her benefits
dollars are to be used within the total limit of benefit
costs agreed to by the employer.
An NLRB decision not to proceed with an election in a
bargaining unit where there are unresolved unfair labor
A concerted refusal to work for, purchase from, or handle
the products of an employer. Where the action is directed
against the employer directly involved in the labor dispute,
it is termed a primary boycott. In a secondary boycott, the
action is directed against a neutral employer in an attempt
to get him/her to stop doing business with the company with
which the union is having a dispute. Secondary boycotts are
illegal under the Taft Hartley Act.
Business Agent (B.A., Union Representative):
A full-time representative of a local union whose job is to
represent members in the local.
Compensation to workers who report for work and, for a
variety of reasons, the employer decides to send back home.
Examples of call in pay include: "show up pay" when a worker
is called into work by error for overtime work and is sent
back home; or, wages paid when the worker is required to
report and there is insufficient work for a full day.
A method of talking individually to every member of a
bargaining unit to either convey information, gather
information on a survey, or plan for united action.
A term sometimes used for the person at the "top" of a
member-to-member action network. Other terms include
"network coordinator" or "campaign coordinator". This person
is responsible for establishing the one-on-one network and
for planning and scheduling activities of the network.
Captive Audience Meeting:
A union term for meetings of workers called by management
and held on company time and property. Usually the purpose
of these meetings is to try to persuade workers to vote
against union representation.
Procedure whereby signed authorization cards are checked
against a list of employees in a prospective bargaining unit
to determine if the union has majority status. The employer
may recognize the union on the basis of this card check
without the necessity of a formal election. Often conducted
by an outside party, e.g., respected member of the
Cease and Desist Order:
An order to stop an action, to not repeat the action, and to
take action to undo the wrong. A cease and desist order
issued by the NLRB is a final order in an unfair labor
practice case. It requires the guilty party to stop any
conduct found to be in violation of the law and to take
positive action to remedy the situation.
Official designation by a labor board of a labor
organization entitled to bargain an exclusive representative
of employees in a certain unit.
The NLRB and many public sector agencies will prohibit
another election in a bargaining unit for one year after a
union has been certified following an election.
A union designated by federal or state labor relations
boards as the exclusive bargaining agent of a group of
Change of Operations:
A change of terminal cities, breaking points, routes, or
equipment which affects Teamster trucking industry
employment opportunities. The union's permission, through
the grievance procedure, is often required for such changes.
Written statement of alleged unfair practices. Filing a
charge with the NLRB State Labor Board is the first step in
an unfair labor practice proceeding.
The party filing a grievance or an unfair labor practice
A contract clause authorizing the company to deduct union
dues from paychecks of those members who so authorize
deductions. The company then transfers the money to the
An agreement between an employer and a union that, as a
condition of employment, all employees must belong to the
union before being hired. The employer agrees to retain only
those employees who belong to a union. The closed shop was
declared illegal by the Taft-Hartley Act.
A process which workers, through their bargaining committee,
deal as a group to determine wages, hours and other
conditions of employment. Normally, the result of collective
bargaining is a written contract which covers all workers in
the bargaining unit.
The law of a country or state based on custom, usage, and/or
the decisions and opinions of a court.
Common Situs Picketing:
A form of picketing in which employees of a struck employer
who work at a common site with employees of at least one
neutral employer may picket only at their entrance to the
worksite. The employees of neutral employers must enter the
workplace through other gates. Picketing is restricted to
the entrance of the struck employer so as not to encourage a
secondary boycott on the part of the employees of a neutral
The evaluation of jobs traditionally performed by one group
of workers (such as women or minorities) to establish
whether or not the worth of those jobs to the employer is
comparable to the worth of the jobs traditionally performed
by white men and the payment of extra wages to those
occupying comparable jobs but receiving less income.
An employee organization, usually in one company, that is
dominated by management. The NLRA declared that such
employer domination is an unfair labor practice.
Formal papers issued by the NLRB to start an unfair labor
practice hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. The
complaint states the basis for the Board's jurisdiction and
the alleged unfair labor practice.
The rights, protected by the National Labor Relations Act,
of two or more employees to act in concert to form, join, or
assist labor organizations in order to affect their wages,
hours or work or working conditions.
An order of a court or agency which is entered into by
agreement of all parties. In 1989 the General Executive
Board of the IBT signed a consent decree which provided for
rank and file elections of International Teamsters officers.
This consent decree also established an Independent Review
Board with the power to investigate and penalize officials
judged to be corrupt.
An election for union representation agreed to by
management, employees, and the unions. The NLRB oversees the
A form of discrimination that forces a worker to "quit."
Picketing of a retail establishment that is legal if
directed toward getting consumers not to buy a particular
product of a supplier or of a producer with whom a labor
dispute exists. Such picketing is illegal if it is aimed at
getting customers to stop shopping at the store or at other
parties, such as store employees or delivery to prevent
personnel from crossing the picket line.
A violation of a law or contract which is continuing in
nature, and which therefore is not barred by any time
limitation, even though the violation began before the time
limitation period began.
Contract Bar Doctrine:
Once a contract is executed, the NLRB does not (usually)
permit a representation election in the unit covered by the
contract until the contract expires up to a 3 year limit.
This rule applies to a petition by another union to
represent the employees, a petition filed by the employees
to decertify, or a petition filed by the employer.
Joint or cooperative efforts by several unions in dealing
with an employer that has employees represented by each of
the several unions.
The use of strategic pressure on an employer's weak areas to
gain leverage during a contract campaign or organizing
drive. These campaigns involve analyzing an employer's
social, financial, and political networks and mobilizing
union members and community members in a comprehensive
approach which does not rely on the strike alone as the
basis of the union's power.
A union whose membership is restricted to workers possessing
a particular skill. Most craft unions today, however, have
broadened their jurisdictions to include many occupations
and skills not closely related to the originally designated
Withdrawal by a government agency, such as the National
Labor Relations Board, of a union's official recognition as
exclusive bargaining representative. The NLRB will withdraw
certification if a majority of employees vote against union
representative in a decertification election.
A policy of the NLRB not to process unfair labor practice
charges if the charge can be filed as a grievance and taken
up through a grievance and arbitration procedure. The NLRB
reviews the resulting grievance settlement or arbitration
decision. If it is "clearly repugnant" to the NLRA, the NLRB
issues a complaint.
See Duty of Fair Representation.
U.S. Department of Labor.
Double Breasted Operation:
A condition where an employer operates two closely related
companies—one with a union contract and one without. Under
such operation, the employer will normally assign most of
the work to the non-union segment of his two companies.
Union members' activities on behalf of, or membership in, a
Duty of Fair Representation (DFR):
A union's obligation to represent all people in the
bargaining unit as fairly and equally as possible. This
requirement applies both in the creation and interpretation
of collective bargaining agreements. A union is said to have
violated its Duty of Fair Representation when a union's
conduct toward a member of a collective bargaining unit is
arbitrary, discriminatory, or in bad faith. A union steward,
for example, may not ignore a grievance which has merit, nor
can that grievance be processed in a perfunctory manner. It
should be noted, however, that the employee in the
bargaining unit has no absolute right to have a grievance
taken to arbitration. The union is obligated to give fair
representation to all union members, and also to collective
bargaining unit members who have not joined the union in
"right-to-work" states or in public service units.
A strike, picket, or boycott by a union, or a lockout by an
A work stoppage by employees seeking economic benefits such
as wages, hours, or other working conditions. This differs
from a strike which is called solely to protect unfair labor
See Equal Opportunities Employment
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA):
This law requires that persons engaged in the administration
and management of private pensions act with the care, skill,
prudence, and diligence that a prudent person familiar with
such matters would use. The law also sets up an insurance
program under the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC)
which guarantees some pension benefits even if a plan
Employee Stock Ownership Plans:
A form of compensation in which employees receive shares of
stock in the company for which they work.
Equal Opportunities Employment Commission (EEOC):
Federal Government agency which administers most
See Employee Retirement Income Security
Union contract provision for the raising and lowering of
wages according to changes in the cost of living index or a
similar standard; most commonly referred to as a Cost of
Living Adjustment (COLA).
A provision in maintenance of membership union contracts
giving union members an "escape period" during which they
may resign from union membership. Members who do not
exercise this option must remain members for the duration of
See Employee Stock Ownership Plans.
Established in the case of "Excelsior Underwear", the list
of names and addresses of employees eligible to vote in a
union election. It is normally provided by the employer to
the union within ten days after the election date has been
set or agreed upon at the NLRB.
Exclusive Bargaining Rights:
The right of a union which has been certified by the NLRB or
other government agency to be the only union representing a
particular bargaining unit.
Executive Order 10988:
Issued by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, the order
recognizes the rights of federal employees to bargain with
An employee who is not covered by the Fair Labor Standards
Act and is therefore not eligible for time-and-one-half
monetary payments for overtime. Exempt employees are
generally paid a salary rather than an hourly rate.
An effort to streamline the arbitration hearing by reducing
both time and cost. Transcripts and post hearing briefs are
usually eliminated. Often the arbitrator issues a decision
upon the completion of the hearing or shortly thereafter.
Investigation of labor-management disputes by a board,
panel, or individual. A report is issued by the panel
describing the issue in dispute, and may make
recommendations for a solution.
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA):
The 1938 federal Wage-Hour Law which establishes minimum
wage, maximum weekly hours and overtime pay requirements in
industries engaged in interstate commerce. The law also
prohibited the labor of children under 16 years of age.
Under a union security clause of a union contract, the
amount a nonunion member must contribute to a union to
support collective bargaining activities. This arrangement
is justified on the grounds that the union is obliged to
represent all employees faithfully.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA):
Federal law establishing a basic floor of 12 weeks of unpaid
family and medical leave in any 12-month period to deal with
birth or adoption of a child, to care for an immediate
family member with a "serious health condition", or to
receive care when the employee is unable to work because of
his or her own "serious health condition".
Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS):
Independent agency created by the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947
to mediate labor disputes which substantially affect
Federal Service Impasse Panel:
In federal employment, it provides assistance in resolving
negotiating impasses. The various techniques it employs are
to serve as a substitute for the right to strike.
An employee of the NLRB whose primary duties are to conduct
certification elections and carry out preliminary
investigations of unfair labor practices.
See Fair Labor Standards Act.
See Federal Mediation and Conciliation
See Family and Medical Leave Act.
Used in an open shop to refer to non-union members who
receive all the benefits derived from collective bargaining
without paying union dues or equivalent fees.
The concentration of wage and benefit increases in the
beginning of a contract.
Deductions made by an employer from an employee's wages and
rendered to a creditor of the employee.
A strike by all or most organized workers in a community or
Geographic Wage Differentials:
Differences in wage rates based upon locations of plants or
Good Faith Bargaining:
Negotiations in which two parties meet and confer at
reasonable times with open minds and the intention of
reaching agreement over a new contract.
A contract provision specifying that employees on the
payroll before a specified time will retain certain rights
and benefits even though newer employees are not entitled to
Any type of worker dissatisfaction including violations of
the collective bargaining agreement, violations of law,
violations of employer policies, violations of fair
treatment, and violations of past practices. The definition
of a grievance is usually part of the contract, and
therefore may vary from one contract to another.
A procedure usually established by a collective bargaining
agreement to resolve disputes, problems or misunderstandings
associated with the interpretation or application of the
collective bargaining agreement. It consists of several
steps with the last step of the procedure, usually being
A grievance signed by many people in a workplace in order to
show management that members as one in their opposition to a
The process of the union dispatching workers to employers as
needed. A hiring hall may be operated by a union alone or by
an employer and union jointly. Hiring halls are monitored by
the government to help prevent favoritism.
Work by workers who produce goods for an employer in their
home, from materials furnished directly or indirectly by the
Hot Cargo Clauses:
Clauses in union contracts permitting employees to refuse to
handle or work on goods shipped from a struck plant or to
perform services benefitting an employer listed on a union
unfair list. Most hot cargo clauses were made illegal by the
Taft-Hartley Act, but there are some exceptions.
Housevisits, Homecalls, and Housecalls:
Terms used to describe visits by union staff, volunteers, or
organizing committee to the homes of workers they are
attempting to organize. Such visits give organizers an
opportunity to discuss the union and answer questions of
unorganized workers in a relaxed and secure atmosphere.
A strike that is called in violation of the law, such as a
strike that ignores "cooling off" restrictions, or a strike
that disregards a "no strike" agreement signed by the Union
or imposed by a court of law.
Term often applied to a permanent arbitrator, named for the
life of an union contract, and usually selected by mutual
agreement. The term indicates his function of presiding over
the union contract to enforce observance of it by both
In general usage, a term referring to a situation where two
parties cannot h agree on a solution to a dispute. In legal
usage, if impasse is reached, the employer is legally
permitted to unilaterally impose its latest offer.
Independent Review Board (IRB):
The three-person board established as part of the 1989
consent decree signed by the International Brotherhood of
Teamsters and the US Department of Justice as a settlement
of the U.S. Government's RICO lawsuit. The IRB has the power
to investigate and penalize officers it considers to be
corrupt. The IRB has the power to investigate and penalize
Teamster officials it considers to be corrupt.
A union whose membership includes all workers in a
particular industry, regardless of the particular skills the
Picketing done with the express intent not to cause a work
stoppage, but to publicize either the existence of a labor
dispute or information concerning the dispute. Picketing
done with the express intent not to cause a work stoppage
but to publicize either the existence of a labor dispute or
information concerning the dispute.
A court order which either imposes restraints upon action,
or directs that a specific action be taken and which is, in
either case, backed by the courts power to hold disobedient
parties in contempt.
Used no police.
Leave taken in separate periods of time due to a single
illness or injury. This is permitted under the FMLA.
The use of mass grievances, working to rule, rolling
sick-outs, informational picketing, and other forms of
resistance designed to pressure an employer to meet the
union's demands without the union resorting to a strike.
A union which wants to be on the ballot when another union
has already petitioned for an election.
See Independent Review Board.
A concerted activity by employees designed to put pressure
on the employer without resorting to a strike. Examples
include: wearing T-shirts, buttons, or hats with union
slogans, holding parking lot meetings, collective refusal of
voluntary overtime, reporting to work in a group, petition
signing, jamming phone lines, etc.
Joint Committee or Panel:
A committee of equal numbers of union and management
representatives established by a contract to hear grievances
arising under the contract. If a committee is deadlocked on
a grievance, the matter may be referred to a higher
committee, to an arbitrator, or the employer and the union
may be permitted economic recourse, depending on the wording
of the contract.
The specific industry, craft and/or geographical area which
a local union is chartered to organize or represent.
A conflict involving a dispute between two unions over which
shall represent a group of employees in collective
bargaining or as to which union's members shall perform a
certain type of work.
A reason an employer must give for any disciplinary action
it takes against an employee. An employer must show just
cause only if a contract requires it. Most contracts have
just cause requirements which place the burden of proof for
just cause on the employer.
See Local Education Coordinator.
The annual financial statement of income and expenses,
including the salaries of union officers and staff. Unions
are required by law to file with the Labor Management (LM)
Division of the U.S. Department of Labor.
Landrum-Griffin Act of 1955:
Also known as the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure
Act (LMRDA), it provides safeguards for individual union
members, requires periodic reports by unions, and regulates
union trusteeships and elections.
To carry on a legal contest by a judicial process. For
example, the employer will often go to the courts (litigate)
to appeal a decision by the NLRB.
See Taft-Hartley Act.
See Landrum-Griffin Act.
Local Education Coordinator (LEC):
In the Teamsters Union, a member designated by the local
union and trained by the International Union to plan and
implement educational programs for the members of the local.
A suspension of work initiated by the employer as the result
of a labor dispute. A lockout is the employer counterpart of
a strike. Used primarily to pressure employees to accept the
employer’s terms in a new contract.
A catchall phrase used in grievance and other legal action
where a remedy is sought from an employer. Often used in
discharge and discipline cases where the union seeks to have
a worker who had been wrongly discharged or disciplined
returned to work and reimbursed all wages, benefits, or
other conditions lost due to an employer's unjustified
Maintenance of Membership:
Form of union security used in contract language under which
the employee is not required to join a union but agrees to
remain a member of the union for the duration of the
contract if he/she is already a union member or does join
the union during the life of the contract.
Management Rights or Prerogatives:
The claimed rights of employers to control operational
aspects of the workplace.
Mandatory Subject of Bargaining:
Those items included under wages, hours, and other terms and
conditions of employment over which an employer must
bargain. An employer may not make a change in a mandatory
bargaining subject without providing prior notice to the
union and an opportunity to bargain.
Patrolling by large numbers of people in close formation,
often preventing access to company premises.
A union contract covering several companies in one industry,
for example, NMFA.
(Conciliation) The efforts of a third party to help parties
to reach agreement in a labor dispute. Mediators help
clarify issues and suggest possible solutions. Under the RLA
mediators have the authority to recommend to the NMB when
the parties can be released from further bargaining union
and the ___ strike and management implement terms of an
Member in Good Standing:
A union member in good standing is one who has fulfilled
requirements for the organization and who has not
voluntarily withdrawn from membership, been expelled, or
A communications system designed to allow the leaders of a
local union to communicate rapidly and personally with the
members. A coordinator at the top of a pyramid communicates
with approximately 10 leaders, each of whom communicates
with approximately 10 members, each of whom may communicate
with 10 other members, etc. See Canvass.
Increase in wages given to one employee by the employer to
reward good performance. Unions often oppose merit increases
because of a general lack of objective criteria for awarding
increases, and thus allowing favoritism to enter into the
decision to award the increase.
National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (NLRA):
Federal law guaranteeing workers the right to participate in
unions without management reprisals. It was modified in 1947
with the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act, and modified again
in 1959 by the passage of the Landrum-Griffin Act.
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB):
Agency created by the National Labor Relations Act, 1935,
and continued through subsequent amendment, whose functions
are to define the appropriate bargaining units, to hold
elections, to determine whether a majority of workers want
to be represented by a specific union or no union, to
certify unions to represent employees, to interpret and
apply the Act's provisions prohibiting certain employer and
union unfair practices, and otherwise to administer the
provisions of the Act.
National Mediation Board (NMB):
Established under the Railway Labor Act, the NMB conducts
representation elections, regulates major disputes, and
appoints arbitrators and boards to decide minor disputes in
the railway and airline industry.
See National Labor Relations Act.
See National Labor Relations Board.
See National Mediation Board.
See Voluntary Subject of Bargaining.
No Raiding Pact:
An agreement between unions not to attempt to organize
workers already under represented by another union.
Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA):
The Law which authorizes the OSHA agency to set standards,
obligates employers to provide a safe workplace, and
provides for enforcement of the standards. The law
encourages the states to develop their own safety laws which
displace the federal law.
See Member-to-Member Network.
Where employees do not have to belong to the union or pay
dues to secure or retain employment in a company, even
though there may be a collective bargaining agreement. The
Union is obligated by law to represent members and
non-members equally regardless of whether it is an open shop
or a union shop.
The employees in a non-union shop who are designated to
represent their co-workers during the representation
campaign. Organizing committee members, among other things,
usually sign up their coworkers on authorization cards or
petitions, hand out leaflets, attend meetings and visit
workers at home to gain support for the union effort.
Organizing Model of Unions:
The concept that the primary function of a union's officers
and staff is to organize members to exert collective power
to solve problems. This is in contrast to the Service Model
See Occupational Safety and Health Act.
A customary way of doing things not written into the
collective bargaining agreement. Past practices can
sometimes be enforced through the grievance procedure if the
practice has been longstanding, consistent, and accepted by
Collective bargaining in which the union tries to apply
identical terms, conditions, or demands to a number of
employers in an industry although the employers act
individually rather than as a group.
Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC):
A Federal Corporation which guarantees that vested
participants in private pension plans will receive some
pension benefits even if a pension plan becomes bankrupt.
Under current labor law, when employees engage in an
economic strike, the employer has the right to hire
permanent replacements. After the strike has ended, if there
is no back to work agreement reached between the union and
the employer, employees replaced during the strike are put
on a preferential hiring list and must wait for openings to
Permissive Subject of Bargaining:
See Voluntary Subject of Bargaining.
The organized telephoning of large numbers of members to
inform them of a union policy or action or to gather
information. This is often done by volunteers who come into
the union hall and telephone members during a certain time
A network of volunteer members in which one member calls a
list of members, each of whom calls another list of members,
Pay by the number of units completed. The theory is that the
faster you work, the more you will get paid. Many workers
have learned that if they exceed a certain quota, the piece
rate will be lowered.
Management procedures to enforce discipline and maintain
efficient production. A plant rule may be grieved because it
is unreasonable, in conflict with the contract, unknown to
workers, or not enforced equitably.
An extra amount over straight time rates, sometimes a flat
sum, sometimes a percentage of the wage rates, paid to
workers to compensate them for inconvenient hours, overtime,
hazardous, or unpleasant conditions, or other undesirable
Generally the wage prevailing in a locality for a certain
type of work. It is a wage determinant for many federal
construction projects. (Prevailing wage does not necessarily
refer to union wages.)
Quality of Worklife Programs:
See Team Concept Plans.
A union's attempt to enroll workers belonging to or
represented by another union.
Railway Labor Act of 1926 (RLA):
This law regulates labor relations in the railway and
airlines industries, guaranteeing workers in these
industries the right to form a union and bargain
collectively. The RLA severely controls the timing and right
to strike. Also, bargaining units under the RLA are usually
nation-wide, making it more difficult for workers to form a
Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
Federal law allowing the federal government to place in
trusteeship organizations which are convicted of being
dominated by racketeers or organized crime. The U.S.
Department of Justice filed suit against the IBT under the
RICO Act, and this lawsuit was settled by the 1989 Consent
Rank and File:
The members of a union.
Formal approval of a newly negotiated agreement by vote of
the union members affected.
Employer acceptance of a union as the exclusive bargaining
representative for all employees in the bargaining unit.
Picketing to pressure or coerce an employer to recognize a
union as a bargaining agent for the employees. Recognition
picketing is subject to certain restrictions under the
amendments to the NLRA.
A method of targeting certain job classifications for
special treatment in wage negotiating, with both good and
bad results possible.
Clause in a collective bargaining agreement providing for
reopening negotiations on wage rates, etc., during the term
of the agreement.
Workers hired to replace employees on strike. In the case of
economic strikers, the strikers retain their employee status
while on strike; however, the company may hire permanent
replacements, and may legally refuse to reinstate strikers
who have been permanently replaced. In this situation, if
there are permanent replacements, economic strikers are
generally entitled to reinstatement when the replacements
leave. In the case of unfair labor practice strikes, the
strikers must be reinstated with few exceptions.
Election conducted to determine by a majority vote of
workers whether they want a union.
See Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt
States which have passed laws prohibiting unions from
negotiating union shop clauses in their contracts with
employers covered by the NLRA. In 1997 there are 21
"right-to-work" states. Unions often refer to these as
"right to work for less" states.
A plant transferred to another location, usually another
city, in order to destroy union effectiveness and evade
bargaining duties. The best block to a runaway shop is
unambiguous contract language which prohibits any move of a
Strikes, picketing, boycotts, or other activities directed
by a union against an employer with whom it has no dispute,
in order to pressure that employer to stop doing business
with, or to bring pressure against another employer with
whom the union does have a dispute.
Service Model of Unions:
The concept that the primary function of a union, its staff,
and its officers is to service the members or solve the
members' problems for them. This is in contrast to the
Organizing Model of Unions.
Showing of Interest:
A requirement by the NLRB that must be met by a union when a
union wishes to represent a group of employees. There are
several showing of interest requirements used by the NLRB.
A) A petitional union needs 30% of the eligible members in
the union. B) Where a union has petitioned and another union
wishes to intervene, the second union must have 30% of the
unit it seeks. C) Where a union petitions and another union
wishes to intervene in the same unit to the extent of
blocking a consent election agreement, it must have 10%. D)
Usually, a showing of one or two cards is enough for a
second union to intervene only to have their name on the
ballot or to participate in a hearing. E) A current or
recently expired contract is also a criterion for showing of
A work action which is currently illegal in which strikers
refuse to leave the employer’s premises.
Sixty Day Notice:
The notice that, under the Taft-Hartley Act, must be given
by either party to a collective bargaining agreement when
desiring to reopen or terminate it. No strike or lockout may
begin during these 60 days.
Any system designed to increase worker productivity without
a compensating increase in wages.
Any form of shift work where there are semi-regular work
hours. In some cases, workers may work three different
shifts in a work week. In all the various types of shifts,
there is usually a break of several hour between the
reporting times of the workers.
An organization of the stewards within a local, stewards
councils take some of the workload from the paid staff of
the local and give the stewards an opportunity to compare
their experiences and be more involved in the affairs of the
union. Stewards councils are governed either by their own
bylaws or by a clause in the local union’s bylaws.
See Corporate Campaign.
A group of volunteer members who have agreed to help picket
or leaflet in support of an organizing drive, strike, or
other campaign which the local has initiated.
In order for a Local Union to receive strike benefits from
the International, the strike must be sanctioned by the
General Executive Board.
A term to define a product which is produced by an employer
during the period of a labor dispute with his employees. An
employee who refuses to handle struck work is engaged in a
sympathy work action. Workers who refuse to do the work of
workers engaged in a strike may be replaced; however, they
generally cannot be discharged. A struck work clauses in
some collective bargaining agreements protect the rights of
workers not to handle goods of a struck employer. There are
limitations on such clauses in Section 8(e) of the NLRA.
(Contracting Out) An employer's practice of having work
performed by an outside contractor and not by regular
employees in the unit.
An employer which has acquired an already existing operation
and which continues those operations in approximately the
same manner as the previous employer, including the use of
the previous employer's employees.
Those employees who have management rights such as the
rights to hire, fire, or recommend such action. The
employees who are defined as supervisors under the NLRA are
not permitted to become members of the bargaining unit at
the work location. In organizing campaigns, most employers
will try to enlarge the ranks of their supervisory
personnel. The employer will try to keep a certain group of
supervisors as his anti-union workforce for future labor
Often referred to as a perfunctory tactic whereby an
employer meets with the union, but only goes through the
motions of bargaining. Such conduct on the part of the
employer is considered as violation of the employer's duty
to bargain, Section 8(a)(5) of the NLRA.
Term of derision for an agreement negotiated by an employer
and a union with terms favorable to the employer. The usual
purpose being to keep another union out or to promote the
individual welfare of the union officers rather than that of
the employees represented.
Taft-Hartley Act or Labor Management Act (LMRA) of 1947:
An amendment of the NLRA which added provisions allowing
unions to be prosecuted, enjoined, and sued for a variety of
activities, including mass picketing and secondary boycotts.
Team Concept Plans:
Methods of reorganizing work in ways which blur the
traditional lines of distinction between union work and
management work. These plans are usually initiated by
management, and may be referred to by a variety of names,
including Quality Circles, Quality of Worklife, and
Re-engineering. If a union does not respond with an
aggressive program of member education and mobilization,
these plans generally weaken a union's ability to mobilize
its members effectively and thereby undermine the union's
An elected union official whose duty is to monitor the
finances of a local union, joint council, conference, or
international union. Also, an official appointed by the
Independent Review Board or General President of the
International Union to manage a local union in trusteeship.
The assumption of control over a local union by an
international union, or by the federal government under the
RICO Act. Provided for by the Constitutions of most
international unions, trusteeships suspend the normal
governmental process of a local union and take over
management of the local's assets and the administration of
its internal affairs. Article VI, Sec 5 of the Teamsters
Constitution empowers the General President to appoint
trustees to take charge of local unions or other subordinate
bodies. The Landrum-Griffin Act of 1959 established controls
over the establishment and administration of trusteeships.
Unfair Labor Practices:
Those employer or union activities classified as "unfair" by
federal or state labor relations acts. Under the NLRA,
employer unfair labor practices include employer threats
against protected collective activity, employer domination
of unions, discrimination against employees for collective
activity, and employer failure to bargain in good faith with
union representatives. Union unfair labor practices include
failure to represent all members of the bargaining unit and
failure to bargain in good faith, secondary boycotts. The
RLA and many state public sector labor laws contain
definitions of unfair labor practices which are similar to
the NLRA definitions.
Any change an employer makes without the union's consent.
The subject of unilateral change is ever changing due to
Board and Court Rulings. However, unilateral change falls
into 3 categories; unilateral change before a first time
contract, during bargaining, and during the contract's
terms. The Board recognizes that an employer must bargain
all changes in regards to hours of work, rate of pay, and
other conditions of employment with the employee's
bargaining representatives. Generally, these changes must be
bargained to impasse before a change is implemented.
A professional consultant or consulting firm which provides
tactics and strategies for employers trying to prevent
unionization or decertify unions.
Union Label or Bug:
A stamp or tag on a product or card in a store or shop to
show that the work is done by union labor. The "bug" is the
Union Security Clause:
A provision in a collective bargaining agreement designed to
protect the institutional life of the union, such as union
ship and union dues check-off clauses.
Form of union security provided in the collective bargaining
agreement which requires employees to belong to or pay dues
to the union as a condition of retaining employment. It is
illegal to have a closed shop which requires workers to be
union members before they are hired. The union shop is
legal, except in so-called right-to-work states, because it
requires workers to join the union or pay dues within a
certain time period after they are hired.
The amount of time that an employee must work to guarantee
that his/her accrued pension benefits will not be forfeited
even if employment is terminated.
Voluntary Subject of Bargaining:
Subjects of bargaining other than those considered to be
mandatory (see mandatory subject of bargaining). Either
party may propose discussion of such a subject, and the
other party may voluntarily bargain on it. Neither party may
insist to the point of impasse on the inclusion of a
voluntary subject in a contract. For example, the employer
may not legally insist on bargaining over the method of
selecting stewards or the method of taking a strike vote.
Volunteer Organizing Committee (VOC):
Term sometimes used to describe union members who volunteer
for the union during organizing campaigns. Volunteers may
donate their time and/or be compensated for lost wages while
they assist the campaign by visiting workers at their homes,
distributing leaflets, and attending meetings, etc.
The rights of employees covered by the NLRA to request union
representation during investigatory interviews if they
reasonably believe that the interview could result in their
being disciplined. Weingarten rights also guarantee the
rights of union representatives to assist and counsel
employees during interviews which could lead to discipline.
White Paper Contract:
Term used in the Teamsters Union to refer to collective
bargaining agreements covering individual companies as
opposed to national contracts such as National Master
Freight Agreement and the UPS agreement.
A strike undertaken without official union authorization.
Although not necessarily illegal, they are not necessarily
protected by the NLRB.
See Job Action.
A tactic in which workers agree to strictly follow all work
rules, even those which are usually not followed. The result
is that less work is performed or that the employer is
forced to deal with more paperwork, putting pressure on the
employer to settle workers' complaints. Some, but not all,
work-to-rule campaigns are considered slowdowns, and may
violate no-strike clauses in particular contracts or public
A standard contract clause which precludes any renegotiation
of conditions covered in the contract during the life of the
contract. It is designed to prevent the employer from trying
to change the contract before the next round of bargaining.
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