Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Catalanello, Ralph F.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Management


Employees' representation in management--United States; Labor laws and legislation--United States


This thesis will examine the legality of employee committees under the National Labor Relations Act. Under the Act, it is unlawful for an employer to dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of a labor organization. As such, once an employee committee falls within the broad statutory definition of a labor organization, the presence of unlawful employer domination or interference commonly follows. While it is not unlawful for an employer to dominate or interfere with employee committees which are not labor organizations, it is unlawful for them to do the same with those which are statutory labor organizat ions. Through examining decisions of the National Labor Relations Board and the courts, this thesis establishes the statutory elements which comprise a labor organization and how unlawful employer domination arises in the non-union setting. Both the Board and the courts agree that labor organizations include not only the commonly thought of affiliated or unaffiliated labor union, but may also statutorily include employee committees. Such committees can be composed of various structural schemes, serve different functions, deal with a variety of subjects, and lack any resemblance to the traditional labor union; yet still be found to be a labor organization. Although the Board and the courts concur on what constitutes a labor organization, their differing philosophies have resulted in a sometimes conflicting standard as to what constitutes unlawful employer involvement, While the Board generally prohibits any employer assistance to a labor organization, several appellate courts have adopted a rather vague "cooperation" analysis which seemingly permits any amount of employer assistance to an employee group. However, irrespective of the employee’s desires, both approaches will find the committee to be unlawful if it is found that the employer's motive in providing the assistance was intended to dominate or coerce the employee's statutory rights. The analysis concludes by suggesting that due to a maturing of the industrial relations process, the purposes of the Act would be better effectuated if it were amended so as to permit employer involvement with employee committees provided it is consistent with the desires of the employees.


Includes bibliographical references.


65 pages




Northern Illinois University

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