Labor Law Litigation Strategy

In Taking Back the Worker’s Law, Prof. Ellen Dannin argues for a long-term litigation strategy to make the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) more effective at protecting workers’ rights. The litigation strategy is loosely inspired by the NAACP’s successful litigation strategy to desegregate schools, which famously culminated in the landmark Brown v. Board decision.

Over and above the details of the litigation strategy, the book argues for strategic and tactical measures individual bargaining units can take to increase their chances of success. For example, the book argues for creative choices around bargaining unit composition - these are largely at the discretion of union organizers, subject to very broad guidelines in NLRA, and can make a great deal of difference in the success or failure of a union vote. Similarly, organizers can gain a great deal of leverage simply by forcing employers to post notice that the employer has broken the law, which is a penalty imposed by NLRA when employers use certain union-busting tactcs.

The book is about 15 years old, and in some ways outdated; but some of its critiques are still quite relevant. Moreover, the overall concept of creative and pro-active legal strategy designed to win back important protections for workers is extremely important.