April 3, 2013 – Most individuals researching labor and employment law issues have explored tried and true resources in this practice area, such as the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Labor Relation Board, and Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. Wisconsin attorneys may also have bookmarked the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission and the Labor and Industry Review Commission, or use the State Bar of Wisconsin’s website to obtain agency decisions.
There are many other labor and employment websites and databases worth reviewing. This article highlights a few specialized websites. While far from an exhaustive list, the following websites may provide additional information when researching this type of law:
Bev Butula is the manager of library of services at Davis & Kuelthau, Milwaukee. She is a past president of the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin. Butula has written articles and spoken to numerous groups on issues such as effective Internet research, evaluation of Web sites and legal research. Prior to obtaining her Master’s Degree in Library Science from UWM, Butula was a litigation paralegal.
Collective Bargaining Agreements
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) website is by far one of my favorites. It is a one-stop shop for identifying pending legislation, and often times, state statutes for a variety of topics. One such resource is the Collective Bargaining and Labor Union Legislation Database, which permits researchers to locate current and past labor-based legislation for all 50 states. The NCSL has also created 50 state surveys for numerous other labor and employment issues including minimum wages, whistleblower laws, and employment discrimination.
The University of California, Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment maintains IRLE Library Collective Bargaining Agreements, a labor contract database. This database allows the user to search for collective bargaining agreements by state, union name, or represented occupation. The contracts are full text and saved in PDF format. It should be noted that the contracts may not be the most recent version.
For Wisconsin public sector collective bargaining agreements, check out the Office of State Employment Relations. You’ll find 2007 and 2009 agreements for state related unions.
The UnionStats website, which is updated annually, offers an amazing amount of data. The authors describe it as “an Internet data resource providing private and public sector labor union membership, coverage, and density estimates compiled from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly household survey, using Bureau of Labor Statistics methods. Economy-wide estimates are provided beginning in 1973; estimates by state, detailed industry, and detailed occupation begin in 1983; and estimates by metropolitan area begin in 1986.”
Wisconsin’s Worknet website houses a variety of employment-related datasets. Some of the information is similar to what is found on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. One feature worth mentioning is the County Profiles. These profiles are several page PDF documents that summarize a county’s workforce climate. The website also includes county “snapshots” that are not as detailed as the profiles.
Social Media Policies
Social media is a growing concern in the world of employment. Researchers may seek existing policies to better understand the issues and trends. Several options exist for locating social media policies currently in use.
Social Media Guidance, a website maintained by Chris Boudreaux, contains a database of more than 200 social media policies. Socialmedia.biz also maintain a list of social media policies from various types of organizations including government, nonprofits, hospitals, and news organizations. Another option is the Social Media Policy Database found on Doug Cornelius’ Compliance Building website.
It is important to stay current on new employment and labor cases, news, regulations, and trends. An easy way to accomplish this is by reading quality labor and employment blogs. Here are a few of my favorites: