Labor Law

Labor Law

Prof. Eric M. Fink

Elon Law School

Labor Law

Eric M. Fink
Office hours by appointment

Fall 20--
Room ---
Days, Time


This course examines labor-management relations in socio-legal perspective, drawing on both traditional legal materials (i.e. statutes, regulations, judicial opinions) and social research (i.e. theoretical perspectives & empirical studies from the social sciences). The aim of the course is to provide students with an overview of significant issues and doctrines in labor law, introduce students to theory and research on labor unions and labor-management relations, and encourage students to consider how insights from social theory and research can inform legal practice.

Course Material

Paul M. Secunda & Jeffrey M. Hirsch, Labor Law: A Problem Based Approach (2012) (Required)

Douglas E. Ray, et al, Understanding Labor Law (4th Ed.) (Lexis Nexis 2014) (Suggested)

The course web site,, has links to statutes and regulations, government agencies, and labor organizations; supplemental readings; and other resources.

Requirements & Grading

I expect you to read the assigned material thoroughly before class, attend each class meeting, and participate actively in class.

Your grade for the course will be based on practice-simulation problems assigned during the term (75% total) and your contributions class discussion (25%). The practice-simulation problems will involve research and writing (e.g. legal memos, opinion letters, pleadings, briefs, comments on proposed legislation or regulation, etc.) on the legal and policy issues covered in the course. These problems will take the place of a final examination.

Excessive absences (3 or more classes), persistent lack of preparation, or inattention during class (including but not limited to inappropriate use of computers or electronic devices) may result in a reduction of your grade.

Elon Law School has adopted the following attendance policy for all courses:

The Law School administers a policy that a student maintain regular and punctual class attendance in all courses in which the student is registered, including externships, clinical courses, or simulation courses. Faculty members will give students written notice of their attendance policies before or during the first week of class. These policies may include, but are not limited to: treating late arrivals, early departures, and/or lack of preparation as absences; imposing grade or point reductions for absences, including assigning a failing grade or involuntarily withdrawing a student from the class; and any other policies that a professor deems appropriate to create a rigorous and professional classroom environment.

In case of illness or emergency, students may contact the Office of Student and Professional Life, which will then notify the student’s instructors. A student may notify the faculty member directly of a planned absence and should refer to individual faculty members regarding any policy that may apply. In the case of prolonged illness or incapacity, the student should contact the Office of Student and Professional Life.

The Law School honor code applies to all activities related to your law school study, including but not limited to conduct during class and examinations.

Outline & Reading Assignments

Origins of the Modern U.S. Labor Law Regime

Unions in the Pre-Wagner Era

Ushering in the Wagner Era

Coverage of the NLRA

Employers under the NLRA

Employees under the NLRA

Employee Rights Under the NLRA

Employer Interference

  • Casebook: 99-157

Protected Concerted Activity

  • Casebook: 159-203

Union Organizing

Union Communication with Employees

Employer Communication with Employees

Establishing Representation

  • Casebook: 289-318

Withdrawal of Recognition

  • Casebook: 318-33

Collective Bargaining

Duty to Bargain

  • Casebook: 335-86

Subjects of Bargaining

Labor Disputes

Strikes & Lockouts

Picketing, Boycotts, & Corporate Campaigns

Internal Union Affairs

Duty of Fair Representation

  • Casebook: 557-72

Union Membership

Union Democracy

Union Corruption

Labor Unions in the Public Sector

Labor, Race, Gender, & Immigration

The Demise of the Wagner Model and the Future of Unions