One of the landmark legislations pertaining to labor relations in US history; the National Labor Relations Act was passed by the American Congress as far back as in 1935. It was one of the most prominent Acts passed during Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency. Since it was New York senator Robert Wagner who was instrumental in formulating and promulgating this piece of legislation, it is sometimes also referred eponymously as the Wagner Act.
The outstanding features of this statute are: it
a) gives private sector employees to organize themselves into trade unions;
b) gives them the right to engage in collective bargaining to secure better working conditions and other employment terms;
c) guarantees improved conditions at work, and
d) gives them the right to take some forms of collective action, which can include the right to strike work if they think it as being necessary.
While these points form the nucleus of this statute; the National Labor Relations Act also made way for the creation of the National Labor Relations Board. This board is given oversight of conduct of elections to unions and other employee-oriented bodies.
When members are voted to important positions of this board; the National Labor Relations Act hands labor unions the status of sole representatives of workers. This is the only legal representation of workers, and is the only body with which the employer has to engage on matters concerning collective bargaining.
Who are exempt?
While National Labor Relations Act brings under its panoply virtually all kinds of employees and workers in the private sector; there are some types of employees who are exempt from its provisions. These include:
a) employees who come under the Railway Labor Act;
b) those who do domestic work; those engaged in agriculture (those who work for agriculturists);
c) independent contractors;
d) those who work for the government at any level –local, State or federal, and
e) some kinds of close relatives of employees.
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