WAGE Act Case Study

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ISSUES What is the Workplace Action for a Growing Economy (“WAGE”) Act and why should Congress pass this legislation? BRIEF ANSWER Currently the remedies available under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) are purely remedial and do not adequately protect the rights of workers, and “[a]s a result, a culture of near impunity has taken shape in much of U.S. labor law . . . labor law enforcement often fails to deter unlawful conduct. When the law is applied, enervating delays and weak remedies invite continued violations.” The WAGE Act would amend the NLRA to address these inadequate remedies by providing for punitive damages and civil fines against employers among other things. The WAGE Act was introduced to both the House of Representatives…show more content…
Furthermore, if the Board finds it necessary “to effectuate the policies” of the NLRA, the Board can order the employer to reinstate an employee or employees with an option of back pay. The Board has also ordered employers found guilty of interfering with or tainting union representation elections to bargain with the union even if the union did not win the election. In representation cases, the Board may instead order a re-run for the election. The Board also has ordered employers found guilty of violating the Act to post notices within the workplace to inform its employees of the Board’s finding. During investigations of unfair labor practices the Board may apply to a district court for a temporary restraining order against the charged…show more content…
In addition, the Act would allow the Board to hold an officer or director of the employer liable for ULPs. The Act would amend the ability of a Board to receive a temporary injunction during a charge investigation by requiring that “the district court shall grant the relief requested unless the court concludes there is no reasonable likelihood that the Board will succeed on the merits of the Board’s claim.” The WAGE Act would make Board orders final within 30 days of issuance. Additionally, the Act provides for a private right of enforcement of the NLRA in district courts by employees, with the prevailing party allowed, if the court sees fit, to collect attorneys’ fees. The Act creates statutory authority to allow the Board, even where a union loses the representation election, where the Board finds that the employer has violated the NLRA and the affected the election, to issue a bargaining order against the employer. The Act further would allow the Board to levy a fine up to $10,000 per day against a party who “willfully and knowingly violates any rule, regulation, restriction, condition, or order

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