Labor Relations: What Retailers Need to Know about Labor Law and Unions

(447 Ratings)

Produced on: May 14, 2015

Course Format On Demand Audio

Taught by


Course Description

Time 91 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

This seminar provides a basic overview of U.S. labor law and how it affects retail employers, exploring the National Labor Relations Act and how the NLRB addresses union organizing, collective bargaining, and unfair labor practices in the retail environment. 


With respect to union organizing, Brad Livingston explains how unions are using both conventional and new methods to organize retailers, the use of community action groups and employee walkouts to disrupt store operations, and the legal and practical issues most retailers face when confronted by these organizing tactics.  Among other issues, Mr. Livingston explains the potential bargaining units that unions may organize at retail stores; the NLRB election process; and the rights and limits on a union’s ability to access a retailer’s stores, parking lots or shopping center common areas and to publicize their dispute with an employer via picketing, handbilling, consumer boycotts, and other means.


Regarding collective bargaining, Mr. Livingston explains the ground rules for labor negotiations laid out by the NLRB, the subjects for bargaining, and the use of economic weapons such as a strike or lockout during a labor dispute and what it means for store deliveries and customer access. 


With respect to unfair labor practices, Mr. Livingston explains how the NLRB balances the rights of employees, unions and employers, with particular emphasis on recent NLRB decisions regarding employer policies and rules concerning social media, confidentiality, and disparagement.  He explains how recent NLRB decisions have expanded protections for employees and unions, even in a non-union context.    


Learning Objectives:

I.    Grasp the basic principles underlying the National Labor Relations Act, how the NLRB processes work, and how they apply to retailers -- whether unionized or not

II.   Comprehend how the NLRB election process works in a retail environment

III.  Be prepared if a labor union and its allies use a variety of pressure tactics to organize part or all of a retailer’s operations

IV.  Gain knowledge of the collective bargaining process and its application to store operations

V.   Appreciate how the NLRB’s unfair labor practice process works and the most common ways that retailers run afoul of the NLRA


Bradford L. Livingston

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Brad Livingston has served as the chair or co-chair of Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s national Labor Relations Practice Group since the group was formally established over a decade ago. He is a partner in the Chicago office, where he represents employers throughout the United States in all aspects of labor and employment law counseling and litigation. While his practice includes a strong emphasis on partnering with clients to develop and implement strategic advice and business solutions, he also regularly represents employers in responding to both traditional union organizing and union anti-corporate campaigns, unfair labor practice matters before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), labor injunction proceedings and grievance arbitrations.


Mr. Livingston is frequently sought out by employers to handle complex and transformative collective bargaining negotiations where economic or business conditions either necessitate change or present significant risks to management, including concessionary bargaining, coordinated bargaining for multiple facilities or with different labor unions, and during transfers of ownership. He has significant negotiations experience with virtually every major labor union. In addition to serving as chief spokesperson and legal advisor to management in successfully reaching hundreds of collective bargaining agreements, he has extensive experience in representing management during strikes, lockouts and other labor disputes. He has served as chief outside counsel in corporate campaigns brought by multiple international unions. 


Mr. Livingston has testified before Congress on the National Labor Relations Act, its purposes and application. In addition to his practice, he teaches as an Adjunct Professor at John Marshall Law School. He is also a trainer for Seyfarth Shaw at Work, a regular contributor on labor and employment issues to both the World Bank’s Doing Business series and PLC’s International Transactions Guide, an editor and contributor to Seyfarth Shaw’s Employer Labor Relations Blog, and regularly writes and lectures on a number of national and international labor and employment law topics. He is a member of the International and National Labor Relations Act Subcommittees of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Labor Relations Committee.  


Mr. Livingston has been honored by being elected a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, is noted in “The Legal 500” for his work representing management in labor relations, is one of only several hundred lawyers from around the world selected for inclusion in the most recent “International Who’s Who of Management Labour and Employment Lawyers,” and frequently cited in other national and state lists of preeminent labor and employment lawyers. 



  • J.D., University of Michigan Law School (1979) 

cum laude

  • B.S., University of Michigan (1976) 

with High Distinction



  • Illinois
  • Wisconsin



  • United States Supreme Court
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third and Seventh Circuits
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern District (Trial Bar) and Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin


Micheal D.

Very good presentation onunion formation and the NLRB. Helpful and useful info and tooic

Julie F.

Great information, applicable to more than just retail businesses.

Daniel L.


Gregory L.

Great overview of topic!

Charles S.

Even coming from a pro-union background, the broad scope of activities that could be deemed protected activities was eye-opening for me. I will be engaging with our labor counsel to make sure our current policies reflect the latest developments.

Joseph R.

Extremely informative

Henry V.

Moved presentation quickly

andy a.

great course

Bill H.

good information

Abrar Q.


Maki D.

Great review of law and specific application to retail.

Michael L.

I found this presentation very informative.

Load More


$ 89 Labor & Employment Law In Stock


Get Unlimited Access to Lawline Courses

Unlimited CLE Subscription gives you access to take almost any course from our catalog and earn as much CLE credit as you need.