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Federal Labor Law

Introduction to Labor Law

Federal Labor Law regulates and protects the relationship between workers (Labor) and employers (Management). See 29 U.S.C. § 151 (2018).  It grew out of many historical incidents, often violent and deadly, that pitted Labor against Management, beginning with the first national general strike: the Great Railroad Strike of 1877.

Federal Labor Law is distinct from a closely-related area of law: Federal Employment Law. That area of law is concerned with other issues that may arise during an employee/employer relationship, such as harassment or discrimination claims, the minimum wage, overtime claims, or similar issues. We have a LibGuide on that topic: 

Here on the home page you can find links to the major federal agencies that manage labor issues as well as general reference sources on labor law that are available in the law library. If you are looking for the statutes, regulations or court or agency decisions that make up the primary labor law in the United States, see the Statutes, Regulations and Decisions tab. If you are looking for secondary sources, try the Treatises, News, Periodicals and Handbooks tab.

For a more in-depth discussion of researching labor law issues, see Hazelton's Specialized Legal Research. Chapter 5 covers federal labor law resources.

Finally, for research of broader labor and employment issues, try the Labor & Employment Relations Digital Library.

Federal Agencies

Labor law in the United States is a heavily regulated area; administrative agencies play an enormous role by promulgating and enforcing regulations and adjudicating disputes. It is important to be familiar with the leading administrative agencies and their role in U.S. labor law. Following is a brief list of major agencies with links to their websites. Other agencies involved in labor law enforcement can be found at the Department of Labor's website.