Labor law is important to understand but may be confusing to some. For that reason, workers should be familiar with common terms associated with labor law and understand what labor law is.
Labor law basics
Some important labor law terms to be familiar with include:
- Collective Bargaining: collective bargaining refers to the process of negotiating with the employer for wages, benefits and working conditions for the workers.
- Organize: in the context of labor law, the term organize refers to forming a union or workers who are then considered collectively organized for the purposes of bargaining for wages, benefits and working conditions.
- Right to Work Laws: right to work laws may exist in some states and situations which limit the ability of workers to collectively organize to bargain for improved working conditions.
How labor laws can help workers
Labor laws are concerned with the rights and responsibilities of unionized employees. Workers generally have more power to negotiate for better working conditions and improved pay and benefits as a group than individually. Unions are able to negotiate for better hours, better pay and increased workplace safety for their workers.
In addition, employers are required to follow specific rules when interacting with employees who are part of a union. There are both state and federal labor laws but the state laws must comply with the federal law. Labor law also refers to workplace standards that establish working conditions and wage laws such as laws prohibiting child labor and establishing a minimum wage. States are free to set their own minimum wage but the minimum wage the state sets cannot be lower than the federal minimum wage. Labor laws are an important area of the law for unionized employees to be familiar with so they can better understand their rights.