Jared S. Gross


Unlike union recognition in the United States, trade union recognition in the United Kingdom has traditionally been based on voluntary agreements between labor and management. Times have changed, and the unions that embraced voluntary recognition have increasingly pushed for a statutory recognition scheme that mandates recognition when the majority of employees so wish. Prompted by this new support for statutory recognition, the Labour Party, which took control of Parliament in 1997, enacted a statutory recognition scheme in the new Employment Relations Act 1999. After analyzing the technical aspects of union recognition in the United Kingdom in light of the scheme that has governed American labor law for more than a half century, the National Labor Relations Act, this note asks and answers why did the United Kingdom enact such legislation. The author proposes that the Employer Relations Act will not be a new dawn for unionism, rather it is only a basement of protection for employers who would refuse recognition under any circumstance.

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