Labor Law

This section of the website is concerned with the several aspects of labor law pertaining to the United States and documented in this archived section of the journal.

The "Comparative Labor Law Journal" was founded in 1976. Its creation was to provide a venue for the best scholarship in comparative analysis of labor law, employment policy, and social security issues. The Journal moved to the University of Illinois in 1997 and renamed "Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal." Its Editorial Advisory Board broadened to better reflect its mission.

The Journal has an extensive worldwide circulation and is a major international forum that is used extensively for theoretical and applied research, in an area of growing importance to both the developed and developing world.

The Rules

In the United States, the development of Labor Law throughout its existence has been affected by questions of constitutionality. This influenced its ultimate form and also had the effect of retarding its development.

There was much debate over the constitutionality of workers’ compensation laws until in 1917 it was favourably settled by the Supreme Court. There was much delay in forming child-labor and minimum-wage regulations by judicial decisions regarding them as outside federal competence while, in some cases they were deemed inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee that was upheld against deprivation of life, liberty and property. This was all effective without due process of law while the guarantee applied to the owner of the company in question and the discipline engaged in.

The first attempt to regulate hours and wages by codes of fair competition by Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration during the Great Depression turned out to be unconstitutional. This was because of improper delegation of legislative power leveraged by Congress to the executive branch.

After this, the temper of judicial review changed. The validity of federal legislation guaranteed free collective bargaining throughout private industry. This resulted in the regulation of wages and working hours, while establishing social security.

Workers' compensation programs compensate employees who are injured while on the job. Their remit is to provide medical funding directly or otherwise compensate the employee with a manifest sum of money. There are several examples of workers’ compensation programs, such as the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program, the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, the Federal Employees' Compensation Act and also the Black Lung Benefits Act.

National Labor Relations Act of 1935 dictates the terms of labor relations specifically in the private sector. It establishes certain rights for employees self-organization, to be able to form or join labor organizations, bargain collectively and engage in other activities of collective bargaining, mutual aid or protection.

It establishes prohibitions on how employers may interfere with these rights. It importantly prohibits company unions and rules that discriminate against workers engaged in collective bargaining as an unfair labor practice. If the rights of a worker are violated, that worker can, within six months of the employer’s violation file a charge with regional National Labor Relations Board offices.

Further Reading

Below are titles of the several articles published in this section of the TJICL website: