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Authorization cards

Cards signed by employees to indicate that they want union representation.

Closed shop

Clause that states that union membership is a condition of hiring; is illegal (except in the construction industry).

Community of interests

Mutuality of interests among employees in bargaining for wages, hours, and working conditions.


Means for employees to terminate union representation; removes union from its position as bargaining representatiive.

Duty of loyalty

Common-law precept that imposes on employees a duty to be loyal to the employer.

Excelsior List

List the employer has to provide to the union with the names and addresses of certain employees within seven days after the direction of or consent to an election.

Fraudulent misrepresentation

Intentional deception relied upon and resulting in injury to another person.

Informational picketing

Type of picketing done to advise the public that an employer is non-union.

Labor-Management Relations Act (LMRA)

Act that provides balance of power between union and management by designating certain union activities as unfair labor practices; also known as Taft-Hartley Act.

National Labor Relations Act (NRLA)

Act that protects the rights of employees to organize unhampered by management; also known as Wagner Act.

Organizational feedback

Presentation of data to stimulate discussion of problem areas, generate potential solutions, and stimulate motivation for change.


Detailed, step-by-step description of the customary method of handling an activity.


Process of using paid union organizers to infiltrate an organization and organize a company's workers.


Refusal by employees to work.


Acronym used by many labor management attorneys and consultants that covers most of the unfair labor practice pitfalls a supervisor can run into: Don't Threaten, Interrogate, Promise, or Spy.

Wildcat Strikes

Work stoppage involving the primary employer-employee relationship that are neither sanctioned nor stimulated by the union and that violate a no-strike clause in the contract.


Giving more-senior workers whose jobs have been eliminated the right to transfer into jobs of less-senior workers.


As related to international labor relations, a practice in which employees have a role in the management of a company that includes worker representatives with voting rights on the corporate board of directors.


Method of nonbinding dispute resolution involving a third party who tries to help disputing parties reach a mutually agreeable decision; also known as mediation.

Directed election

Type of representation election ordered by the NLRB regional director after a preelection hearing.

E.I. Dupont & Company

1993 NLRB ruling that held certain employee committees to be illegal because Dupont management circumvented the legally chosen employee representatives and usurped the union's right to represent its members.

Express oral contract

Involves verbal promises made between employer and employee related to employment.

Grievance procedure

Provides an orderly way to resolve differences of opinion in regard to a union contract.

Integrative bargaining

Takes place when there is more than one issue to be resolved; focuses on creative solutions to conflicts that reconcile parties' interests and result in mutual benefit.

Landrum-Griffin Act

Act that protects the rights of union members from corrupt or discriminatory labor unions; also known as Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA).

Negligent hiring

Hiring of an employee who the employer knew or should have known, based on a reasonable pre-hire investigation of the employee's background, posed a risk to others in the workplace.

Pattern bargaining

Takes place when unions negotiate provisions covering wages and other benefits similar to those already provided in other agreements existing within the industry or region; also known as parallel bargaining.

Project team

Group of people who come together for a specific project.

Self-directed team

Group of people that work in a self-managing way. Typically the group assumes complete autonomy.

Taft-Hartley Act

Act that provides balance of power between union and management by designating certain union activities as unfair labor practices; also known as Labor-Management Relations Act (LMRA)

Work rule

Reflects management decisions regarding specific actions to be taken or avoided in a given situation.

Unfair labor practice (ULP)

Violation statutory right under labor-relations statutes.

Agent-principal relationship

Principle under which regulations on unfair labor practices that apply to employers and unions also apply to acts of their agents.

Certification of results

NLRB certification indicating that a union has lost an election.

Collective bargaining agreement (CBA)

Agreement or contract negotiated through collective bargaining process.

Double breasting

When a common owner operates both union and nonunion businesses.

Consumer picketing

Product boycotts involving such activities as distributing handbills, carrying placards, and urging customers to refuse to purchase products from a particular retail or wholesale business.

Employee handbook

Explains major and generally describes the employee benefits provided.

Illegal subjects

Those collective bargaining items that are unlawful by statute; also known as external subjects.

Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA)

Administers the provisions of the various excutive orders that fall under the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.

Job enlargement

Broadening the scope of a job by expanding the number of different tasks to be performed.

Maintenance of membership

Contract clause that states that an employee may or may not choose to join a union but once the employee joins, he/she must maintain membership for the duration of the contract.

Neutrality agreement

Contract between a union and an employer under which the employer agrees not to oppose a union's attempt to organize its workforce.

Phased retirement

Offers employees the opportunity to gradually reduce the number of hours they work before they are fully retired.


When an employer recognizes a union as being entitled to conduct collective bargaining on behalf of workers in a particular bargainiing unit.


As related to international labor relations, a participatory management approach in which workers have the opportunity to identify problems and help resolve them.

Task identity

Extent to which a job requires a "whole," identifiable unit of work.

Certification of representative

NLRB ceritfication indicating that a union has won an election and will be the exclusive representative of the bargaining unit.

Union security clauses

Provisions in a collective bargaining agreement designed to protect the institutional authority or survival of the union (e.g., making union membership or payment of dues compulsory for all or some of the employees in a bargaining unit).

Collective bargaining

Process by which management and union representatives negotiate the employment conditions for a particular bargaining unit for a designated period of time.

Consent election

Type of representation election that involves an agreement between an employer and a union to waive the preelection hearing.

Distributive bargaining

When parties are in conflict over an issue and the outcome represents a gain for one party and a loss for the other; each party tries to negotiate for the best possible outcome.

Agency shop

Clause that states that even if workers do not join the union, they must still pay the equivalent of dues to the union.

Yellow-dog contracts

Contracts that force employees to agree not to join a union or participate in any union activity as a condition of employment.


1992 court dedision that employers must deal cautiously with employee participation committees based on the NLRB's interpretation of what constitutes a company-dominated labor organization.

Hot Cargo clauses

Agreement that union members are not required to handle goods made by nonunion labor or a struck plant; illegal except for provisions in the construction and clothing industries.


Situation in which unions try to require the employment of more workers than is necessary.

Interest-based bargaining (IBB)

Form of negotiating where parties look for common ground and attempt to satisfy mutual interests through the bargaining process.

Local nationals

Employees a United States company hires abroad for jobs in their own country.


Formal association of employees that promotes the interests of its membership through collective action.

Railway Labor Act

Act that originally provided railroad employees the right to organize and bargain collectively; now covers both railroad and airline employees.

Work team

Group of employees responsible for a given end product.

Permissive subjects

Collective bargaining items that may be bargained but are not obligatory; also called voluntary or nonmandatory subjects.

Task force

Temporary allocation of personel and resources for the accomplishment of a specific objective.

Sherman Anti-Trust Act

Act that curbed concentrations of power that interfered with trade and reduced economic competition; directed at large monopolistic employers but applied by courts to the labor unions.

Negligent retention

Retention of employees who engage in misconduct both during and after working hours.

Ally doctrine

States that when a struck employer effectively uses the employees of an ally as strike breakers and when a union extends its primary picketing to this employer, no violation of the LMRA's secondary boycott prohibitions exists.

Circuit City Stores v. Adams

Case in which Supreme Court ruled that a pre-hire employment application requiring that all employment disputes be settled by arbitration was enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act.


Group of people and resources who come together for the accomplishment of a specific organizational objective.

Coordinated bargaining

When an employer bargains with several unions simultaneously but on a separate basis.

Dues checkoff

Where employees agree in writing to an automatic deduction of dues from their paychecks.

Employee involvement (EI)

Planned and orderly attempt to link the shared interests of the employee and the company for their mutual benefit.

Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS)

Offers assistance in contract settlement and maintains a list of arbitrators to help interpret contract language and resolve disputes.

Implied contract

Exists when an agreement is implied from circumstances even though there is no express agreement between employer and employee.

Job enrichment

Increases the depth of a job by adding responsibility for planning, organizing, controlling, and evaluation.

Mandatory Subjects

Collective bargaining items required by law and the NLRB.

No-lockout clause

Contract stipulation in which the company agrees not to lock out workers during a labor dispute for the life of the contract.


Broad statement that reflects an organization's philosophy, objectives, or standards concerning a particular set of management or employee activities.

Recognitional picketing

Picketing done to obtain an employer's recognition of a union as bargaining representative.

Skill variety

Extent to which a job requires a variety of different activities for successful completion.

Task significance

Extent to which a job has a substantial impact on other people.

Union shop

Clause that states that when workers take jobs in a specific bargaining unit, they must join the union within a certain period of time.

Zipper clause

Contract stipulation in which both parties waive the right to demand bargaining on any matter not dealt with in the contract, whether or not that matter was contemplated when the contract was negotiated or signed.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)

Umbrella term used to describe a number of problem-solving and grievance resolution approaches.

Civil Service Reform Act

Act that extended collective bargaining rights to federal employees.

Common law

Dictates that custom and usage have the force of law, even if not specifically found in legislatively enacted, codified, written laws.

Crown Cork and Seal Company

NLRB decision that lifted some of the restrictions on employers' use of employee participation committees.

Duty of fair representation

Requires that unions act fairly on behalf of the employees they represent in negotiation and administering collective bargaining agreements.


Common-law principle stating that employers have the right to hire, fire, demote, and promote whomever they choose for any reason unless there is a law or contract to the contrary and that employees have the right to quit a job at any time.


Work schedule that requires employees to work an established number of hours per week but allows starting and ending times to vary.

Industrial democracy

Breaks the monotony of routine jobs by shifting people between comparable but different jobs.


Method of nonbinding dispute resolution involving a third party who helps disputing parties reach a mutually agreeable decision; also known as conciliation.

No-strike clause

Contract stipulation in which union agrees not to strike during the duration of the contract.

Positional negotiation

Type of contract negotiation in which people lock themselves into positions and find it difficult to move away, parties lose sight of the underlying problems to be resolved, and emphasis is placed on winning the position.

Reserved rights doctrine

Grants management full authority and discretion over the items that are or could be covered unless the contract limits management's rights in a particular area.

Skip-level interviews

Practice in union-free organizations of encouraging managers to spend time with each employee two levels below them on an annual basis.


Set of two or more people who are equally accountable for the accomplishment of a purpose and specific performance goals.

Wagner Act

Act that protects the rights of employees to organize unhampered by management; also known as National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)


Procedure in which disputes are submitted to one or more impartial persons for final determination.

Clayton Act

Act that minimally restricted the use of injuctions against labor and legalized peaceful strikes, picketing, and boycotts.

Common situs picketing

Situation in which lawful picketing of a primary employer also affects a secondary employer that occupies common premises; employers may establish separate or reserved gates, one for the struck employer and the other for all other employers.


Removes authority of a bargaining representative in a non-right-to-work state to negotiate or enforce a union security clause.

Duty of good faith and fair dealing

Imposes on each party in a contract an obligation for honesty in the conduct of the transaction.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Federal agency responsible for enforcing antidiscrimination laws and handling alleged complaints.

Focus group

Small group (normally six to twelve) invited to actively participate in a structured discussion with a facilitator.

Inevitable disclosure

Enables an employer to prevent an employee from taking employment with a competitor when the current employer's trade secrets might "inevitably" be disclosed.

National Industrial Recovery Act

Act that extended the policies of the Railway Labor Act to all interstate commerce organizations.

Job sharing

Results when two part-time employees share one full-time job.

Norris-LaGuardia Act

Act that guarantees workers' right to organize and restricts issuance of court injunctions against nonviolent union activity such as strikes, picketing, and boycotts.

Principled negotiation

Type of contract negotiation based on four premises:1) separate the people from the problem, 2) focus on interests, not positions, 3) invent options for mutual gain, and 4) insist on objective criteria.

Right to work

Refers to statutes that prohibit unions from making union membership a condition of employment.

Social charter

As related to international labor relations, legislation pending before European Union where employment conditions/practices would be standardized.


Working via computing and telecommunications equipment.

Weingarten rights

Union employees'right to have a union representative or coworker present during an investigatory interview.

Bargaining unit

Group of employees a union wants to represent.

Coalition bargaining

When more than one employer negotiates with the union; also known as multiple employer bargaining.

Compressed workweek

Work schedule that compresses a full week's work into fewer than five days.


Injuring someone's reputation by making a false and malicious statement; may be spoken (slander) or written (libel).

Duty of successor employers or unions

Mutual bargaining obligation of an employer and a union when a majority interest in a unionized company is sold to another employer.


Process of sending employees abroad and supporting their ability to adapt to cultural changes and complete their international assignment.

Good-faith bargaining

Generally means that parties in a negotiation enter into discussion with fair and open minds and a sincere desire to arrive at an agreement.


Court order that directs a party, employer, or union to do or refrain from doing a certain act (or acts).

Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA)

Act that protects the rights of union members from corrupt or discriminatory labor unions; also known as Landrum-Griffin Act.

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

Agency that has authority to conduct union representation elections and investigate unfair labor practices.

Organizational picketing

Type of picketing done to induce employees to accept the union as their representative.

Progressive discipline

System of increasingly severe penalties for employee discipline.

Secondary boycotts

Action directed at a primary party through action against some third party.

Sympathy strike

Strike by employees of a bargaining unit who refuse to cross picket lines made up of employees who are not members of their bargaining unit.

Unfair competition

Deals with employment contracts that contain covenants not to compete after termination of employment relationship and with the use of secret, confidential, or proprietary information that the employee obtained while working for the former employer.

Work councils

As related to international labor relations, groups of workers and management representatives charged with examining how to improve company performance, working conditions, job security, etc.

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