The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), commonly known as Wagner Act, was enacted in 1935. The law was amended by the Labor Relations Act (LMRA), also known as Taft Hartley Act, in 1947. The jurisdiction of the federal law was subject to the employer doing business across states, has a contract with railway line or airline, provides goods and services to federal agencies, has business relations with international clients, and does business with Native tribes.
In the case study, the meeting between Decker, the regional manager of Aquatic Inc., and Ali, an employee of the company, violated the NLRA regarding unionization. The meeting violated sections 7 and 8 (b) (1) (A), which protect employees contemplating forming a union in an ununionized organization. Section 7 of the NLRA protects employees’ right to form and join unions and collectively bargain with management through their elected representatives (Cihon & Castagnera, 2016). In addition, the section obligates employers to collectively bargain with unions selected by workers through popular vote in an appropriate bargaining unit. The NLRA also gives employees the right to engage in concerted activities to improve terms and conditions of employment. Decker’s meeting with Ali aims at suppressing the unionization of employees at Aquatic Inc, a decision that violates section 7 of the NLRA. Decker engages Ali in inquiring about an employee union and threatens to get to the bottom of the campaign. This is a direct violation of the right of employees to join or form a union freely without management control.
The meeting also violated section 8 (b) (1) (A) of the Act that deals with unfair labor practices. The section prohibits employers from restraining or coercing employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed under section 7 of the Act, subject to impairment of the organization’s rights to enact its rules regarding employee retention or acquisition (Hirsch & Seiner, 2017). Decker’s meeting with Ali is ridden with labor practices that violate the law. The Act prohibits employers from restraining, coercing, or interfering with employee’s union organizing activities. This includes questioning employees regarding their union activities and distribution of union literature. Decker inquiry whether Ali had been approached by an employee regarding signing a union card violates the Act. Employees are guaranteed the right to solicit co-workers to join unions, discuss union activities, attend union meetings and sign union authorization cards (Cihon & Castagnera, 2016). Decker also violates the Act by promising benefits to Ali through the employee bonus package to discourage his union support. Decker violates the law by taunting Ali to inform management of the unionization activities by invoking the ‘loyal employee’ phrase to coerce him. Consequently, Decker issued threats to Ali by stating the details of the meeting were not allowed to leave the room. Decker also violated the law by stating his intention to spy on the employees to determine their engagement with union activities.
Human Resource Approach
Human Resource Managers are essential in advising the management team on union laws when there is a shift in paradigm towards unionization. As the HR responsible for implementing labor laws, my approach would be to educate Decker regarding the dos and don’ts during the unionization process to avoid confrontation with labor agencies. The education process would include differentiating the thin line between lawful communications and unlawful threats and coercion. Management is at liberty to communicate to workers regarding its unionization position subject to interfering with the employees’ will to join or form a union. The management has the right to include communicate facts and opinions to employees regarding the process of unionization obtained from publicly available information. The information presented explains the costs associated with unionization, reasons why unionization is not suitable for the corporation, and misleading union propaganda such as astronomical increases in wages. The don’ts includes prohibiting management from threatening, interrogating, promising benefits, or spying on employees to gather information about unionization.
Cihon, P. J., & Castagnera, J. O. (2016). Employment and labor law. Cengage Learning.
Hirsch, J. M., & Seiner, J. A. (2017). A modern union for the modern economy. Fordham L. Rev., 86, 1727.