Labor Dispute Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Labor Dispute, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Labor Dispute?

Deviation in opinion between an employer and employee regarding the employment terms.

History and Meaning of Labor Dispute

A labor dispute occurs when there is a disagreement between an employer and employees over the terms of employment. These disputes are often related to disputes over wages, hours of work, benefits, and working conditions. Labor disputes have a long history, with many examples of strikes and other forms of industrial action going back hundreds of years.

In the United States, the first recorded labor strike occurred in 1768 by New York journeymen tailors, who went on strike to protest a wage reduction. Since then, labor disputes have become more common, with many unions established to represent workers' rights. The terms of employment are important because they define the relationship between the employer and employees.

Examples of Labor Dispute

  1. A group of employees at a factory go on strike to protest low wages.
  2. A union negotiates with an employer over the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement.
  3. A trucking company and its drivers cannot agree on the number of hours drivers should work and the pay they should receive.
  4. An employer violates a union contract, prompting the union to file a grievance and possibly even a lawsuit.
  5. During a labor dispute, an employer locks out employees or hires replacements, leading to further tension and potential legal action.

Related Terms

  1. Collective bargaining: the process of negotiations between employers and employees, typically represented by unions, aimed at determining the terms of employment.
  2. Strike: a work stoppage, often organized by a union, in which employees refuse to perform work as a way to pressure an employer to agree to their demands.
  3. Lockout: an action by an employer that prevents employees from entering the workplace. This is often done as a response to a strike or other forms of industrial action.
  4. Grievance: a formal complaint made by an employee or a union on behalf of an employee, alleging a violation of a collective bargaining agreement or other labor law.
  5. Arbitration: a process of resolving a dispute outside of the court system, where an arbitrator listens to both sides and makes a binding decision. This can be used as an alternative to the court system to resolve labor disputes.