Labor Law, Unions and the NLRA in a Post-Pandemic World

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
WED 5:00 - 7:45 pm ONLINE

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location


This course will be taught entirely online via Zoom.

In this time of unparalleled job market insecurity in the wake of an international pandemic, employee workplace protests and strikes have proliferated in a manner not seen since the 1930s. While surveys show that 50% of non-managerial employees polled would vote for a union (given the opportunity), unionization rates are at an historic low of 6-10%. Does the 85-year old National Labor Relations Act adequately protect employees who wish to organize and protest, particularly when many of these employees are daily risking their lives to provide essential services?

This seminar style course (limited to 20 students) will be an untraditional introduction to labor law with an emphasis on participation and debate. In addition to studying the NLRA, the structure of the NLRB and the foundational case law interpreting the Act, we will discuss the reasons for the decline in unionization and current obstacles to union representation. We will also debate current labor topics, such as: the proliferation of workplace demonstrations and organizing campaigns (particularly in the tech, fast food, education, healthcare and childcare industries), unionizing in the gig economy; whether graduate students and/or college athletes should be entitled to unionize; protected speech in the workplace; whether the collective bargaining regime adequately offers workers the ability to address racial and gender injustice in the workplace; and collective bargaining among law enforcement officers and other public sector employees.

• Students will prepare a final project and paper of their own choosing (in lieu of a final exam) and be tasked with weekly debate topics. • Guest speakers will include NLRB officials, as well as union and management side labor counsel. • Professors Spielberg and Avendano collectively have more than 50 years experience in the field of labor law, having worked for the NLRB, for union and union-side firms, and in the private sector.

Textbooks ( * denotes required )

Reprint Of National Labor Relations Act *
ISBN: 978-0-8401-0087-0
Beaten down, Worked Up : The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor (optional)
Greenhouse, Steven
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
ISBN: 978-1-101-87279-6
Labor Law : A Problem-Based Approach *
Secunda, Paul M., Hirsch, Jeffrey M., and Duff, Michael C.
Carolina Academic Press , edition: 2
ISBN: 978-1-5310-0136-0


Headshot of Avendano, Ana L Avendano, Ana L
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Important Class Changes

Date Updated
12/28/2020 Room(s) changed
Exam information updated