This section provides an overview of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), or “the Act,” which is the federal law that governs the relationship between most employers and unions in the private sector. This Chapter also discusses situations in which the NLRA imposes obligations on non-union employers.

The federal agency that enforces and administers the Act is the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board).

The membership and agenda of the Board often change with a new Presidential Administration. Indeed, President Joe Biden has now appointed a majority of the Board and the Board's General Counsel. Therefore, though many of the decisions referenced in this chapter came about under the Trump administration and, at the time of publication, remain decisions that employers must be aware of and adhere to, the newly-constituted Board has begun to revisit some of these decisions and will continue to do so.

Labor law is a dynamic area and it is always difficult to know how to respond to newly-issued Board decisions, especially when the decisions make fundamental changes in the law.

  • As a result, an employer that finds itself facing a union organizing effort, a claim for violation of employee rights under the NLRA, or who otherwise comes to the attention of the NLRB, should seek assistance from counsel experienced in labor relations matters.


CalChamber thanks Laura Pierson-Scheinberg at Jackson Lewis P.C. for her contributions to the Labor Relations in Private Employment chapter.

Laura is a partner in Jackson Lewis’ San Francisco office. She represents management in various industries in a broad range of labor and employment litigation and counseling. Laura is a trusted advisor and experienced litigator on traditional labor law matters. Her practice includes Board litigation, collective bargaining, labor arbitrations, strikes and secondary boycotts, elections, and labor due diligence for corporate transactions. Laura’s bio can be found at More information on the firm can be found on the firm’s website.