Labor Law

Section 1, Fall 21

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 26/50
Credits: 3
Day Time Room Start Date End Date
  • MW
  • 1410-1530
  • SL294
08/25/2021 12/01/2021

Course Description

Today's workplace differs dramatically from that of the 20th century in which the American labor movement was born. Economic changes such as the rise of the service and technology sectors, the mechanization of manufacturing, and the growing importance of gig work, have transformed business enterprises and employment relations. As a result, attorneys for unions, management, and individuals now confront many legal issues that would have been unimaginable to the drafters of the National Labor Relations Act and other federal labor laws. Unions seek to organize part-time and contract workers, interns, and even student athletes. As union density has declined, labor organizations have developed creative techniques to put economic pressure on employers to accept union representation. For their part, employers routinely implement sophisticated strategies of union-avoidance while trying to navigate the requirements of the NLRA. In recent years, appointments to the National Labor Relations Board have become more politicized and doctrine has shifted more with changes in membership on the Board. During the Obama administration, the NLRB undertook an aggressive effort to protect employees' rights in non-union environments, and adopted rules that altered the representation process to reduce the delays that often accompanied that process. Unions sought the change because the lengthy delays often discouraged employees that sought representation and reduced support for unionization. The NLRB under Trump has reversed many Obama era precedents, as well as other longstanding labor law doctrines, resulting in law much more favorable to employers. The changes are ongoing. President Biden terminated and replaced the General Counsel, an action with little prior precedent. Biden will not have the opportunity to appoint majority representation on the agency Board until August 2021 at the earliest, and that is assuming a quick Senate confirmation, which may be unlikely under current political conditions. Attorneys practicing employment and labor law today must understand how the rights and obligations established under federal labor law should shape the advice they give their clients. Discussions will build on a foundation of traditional labor law concepts, but we will apply these principles to today's rapidly-evolving work environment. Students will be encouraged to participate in discussion and analysis of case law and legal principles, and to analyze practical considerations in relation to representation, collective bargaining, and work stoppages.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Final Type (if any): Flex
Description: Flex exam at end of semester.

Written Work Product
Written Work Product: Student grade will depend, in part, on one short 5-7 page paper on a labor law case that changed previous law (due via EXPO, deadline to be announced – in the latter part of the semester but preceding exams). Students will not be required to do outside research for this paper; rather, students will focus on the case, the case it overturned, and the statute and the policies embodied therein.

Other Work
Professor will use assigned problems, exercises and readings to focus class discussion. Participation and preparation is expected, and will be considered in grading.

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: None Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: No
Course Resources: To be announced.
Course Notes:

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: No
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*If “Yes,” then students are required to submit a substantial research paper in this course, which means students do not need to submit any form to SRO for this paper to meet their upper-level writing requirement. If “No,” then students must submit a “special request” e-form to SRO (available via LawWeb) no later than five weeks after the start of the term for a paper in this class to be counted toward the upper-level writing requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Concentrations: Employment and Labor Law
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens: Tuesday, November 23, 12:01 AM
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: Friday, December 03, 11:59 PM