Not a Limited, Confined, or Private Matter: Who is an Employee under the National Labor Relations Act
Penn State Law
Labor Law Journal, Vol. 59, p. 5, 2008
Congress defined employee under the National Labor Relations Act to say that an employee is any employee and is not limited to employees of a single employer. It was the intent of Congress that worker rights and labor organizing was to extend beyond the scope of a single employer, because only in this way could the bargaining power of employers and employees be equalized. Only protections based on such a broad definition could permit employees to overcome the inequality of bargaining power that was created by corporation law.
The courts, however, have not only not enforced the plain meaning of the statute nor the intent of Congress, they have gone so far in some cases as to define employee as limited to the employees of a single employer. The common law system of judicial decision-making means that judges continue to veer farther away from the rights Congress intended to provide employees. This article explores that legislative history and current cases pending decision in which the question of the definition of employee is critical to the outcome.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 11
Keywords: National Labor Relations Act, NLRA, employee, labor, law, work, collective action
JEL Classification: J3, J4, J5, J53, K31
Date posted: April 2, 2008 ; Last revised: February 22, 2010
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