Aneta Janiak-Olejnik

Contract Coverage Nlrb

Contract Coverage and NLRB: An Overview for Employers

When it comes to labor relations, understanding the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is crucial for employers. The NLRB is responsible for enforcing the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which protects employees` rights to engage in „protected concerted activity” such as forming a union, discussing wages and working conditions, and taking collective action. One of the key factors that determine the scope of NLRB protection is contract coverage. Below we provide an overview of contract coverage and how it affects NLRB jurisdiction.

What is Contract Coverage?

Contract coverage refers to the extent to which a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) governs the terms and conditions of a particular employment relationship. A CBA is a written agreement between an employer and a union that sets out the terms and conditions of employment for covered employees. The CBA typically covers issues such as wages, benefits, hours of work, and working conditions.

When Does Contract Coverage Apply?

Contract coverage applies when there is a CBA in place that covers the employee`s position. An employee is considered to be covered by a CBA if their job duties fall within the scope of the bargaining unit represented by the union that negotiated the agreement. The NLRB has a broad definition of „bargaining unit” and will generally include all employees who share a „community of interest” in terms of their job duties, skills, and working conditions.

How Does Contract Coverage Affect NLRB Jurisdiction?

The NLRB has jurisdiction over labor disputes that affect interstate commerce and that involve employees covered by the NLRA. When employees are covered by a CBA, the NLRB will generally defer to the terms of the agreement and decline to intervene in disputes that arise under the CBA. This is known as the „contract coverage doctrine.”

Under the contract coverage doctrine, the NLRB will generally only intervene if the dispute involves an alleged violation of the NLRA that is not covered by the CBA. For example, if an employer unilaterally changes a term or condition of employment that is not covered by the CBA, such as changing the work schedule, the NLRB may assert jurisdiction to address the alleged violation.

What Should Employers Do?

Employers should be aware of the extent of contract coverage in their workplace and understand the implications for NLRB jurisdiction. Employers should also ensure that they comply with the terms of the CBA and avoid making unilateral changes to terms and conditions of employment that are covered by the agreement. If a dispute arises under the CBA, employers should consult with legal counsel to determine the best approach to resolving the issue.

In conclusion, understanding the concept of contract coverage is crucial for employers who want to navigate labor relations issues effectively. By staying informed and complying with the terms of the CBA, employers can avoid disputes and minimize the risk of NLRB intervention.