Closed shop
Overview
 
A closed shop is a form of union security agreement under which the employer agrees to hire union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

 members only, and employees must remain members of the union at all times in order to remain employed.

International Labour Organization
International Labour Organization
The International Labour Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that deals with labour issues pertaining to international labour standards. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Its secretariat — the people who are employed by it throughout the world — is known as the...

 covenants do not address the legality of closed shop provisions, leaving the question up to each individual nation. The legal status of closed shop agreements varies widely from country to country, ranging from bans on the agreement to extensive regulation of the agreement to not mentioning it at all.
The Taft-Hartley Act
Taft-Hartley Act
The Labor–Management Relations Act is a United States federal law that monitors the activities and power of labor unions. The act, still effective, was sponsored by Senator Robert Taft and Representative Fred A. Hartley, Jr. and became law by overriding U.S. President Harry S...

 outlawed the closed shop in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in 1947.
Encyclopedia
A closed shop is a form of union security agreement under which the employer agrees to hire union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

 members only, and employees must remain members of the union at all times in order to remain employed.

International Labour Organization
International Labour Organization
The International Labour Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that deals with labour issues pertaining to international labour standards. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Its secretariat — the people who are employed by it throughout the world — is known as the...

 covenants do not address the legality of closed shop provisions, leaving the question up to each individual nation. The legal status of closed shop agreements varies widely from country to country, ranging from bans on the agreement to extensive regulation of the agreement to not mentioning it at all.

United States

The Taft-Hartley Act
Taft-Hartley Act
The Labor–Management Relations Act is a United States federal law that monitors the activities and power of labor unions. The act, still effective, was sponsored by Senator Robert Taft and Representative Fred A. Hartley, Jr. and became law by overriding U.S. President Harry S...

 outlawed the closed shop in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in 1947. The union shop
Union shop
A union shop is a form of a union security clause under which the employer agrees to hire either labor union members or nonmembers but all non-union employees must become union members within a specified period of time or lose their jobs...

, where employees must join the union after being hired, has also been deemed a violation of the U.S. Constitution. An employer may not lawfully agree with a union to hire only union members; it may, on the other hand, agree to require employees to join the union or pay the equivalent of union dues to it after a set period of time. Similarly, while a union could require an employer that had agreed to a closed shop contract prior to 1947 to fire an employee who had been expelled from the union for any reason, it cannot demand that an employer fire an employee under a union shop contract for any reason other than failure to pay those dues that are uniformly required of all employees.

Construction unions and unions in other industries with similar employment patterns have coped with that prohibition by using exclusive hiring hall
Hiring hall
In organized labor, a hiring hall is an organization, usually under the auspices of a labor union, which has the responsibility of furnishing new recruits for employers who have a collective bargaining agreement with the union....

s as a means of controlling the supply of labor. While such exclusive hiring halls do not, in a strictly formal sense, require union membership as a condition of employment, they do so in practical terms, in that an employee seeking to be dispatched to work through the union's hiring hall must either pay union dues or pay a roughly equivalent hiring hall fee. So long as the hiring hall is run on a non-discriminatory basis and adheres to clearly stated eligibility and dispatch standards it is lawful. The Taft-Hartley Act also bars unions from requiring unreasonably high initiation fees as a condition of membership in order to prevent unions from using initiation fees as a device to keep non-union employees out of a particular industry.

For the entertainment industry, unions representing performers have as their first rule one banning any represented performer from working on any non-union production. Penalties are imposed on the union member, not on the employer, and can lead to loss of union membership. Most major productions are union productions, and non-members join the Screen Actors Guild
Screen Actors Guild
The Screen Actors Guild is an American labor union representing over 200,000 film and television principal performers and background performers worldwide...

 through performing as extras
Extra (actor)
A background actor or extra is a performer in a film, television show, stage, musical, opera or ballet production, who appears in a nonspeaking, nonsinging or nondancing capacity, usually in the background...

 and earning three union vouchers, or by being given a speaking line and entering that way. The other performance unions do not have minimum membership standards, but joining the union bars one from working on non-union productions.

Also, the National Labor Relations Act permits construction employers to enter into pre-hire agreements, in which they agree to draw their workforces from a pool of employees dispatched by the union. The NLRA prohibits pre-hire agreements outside the construction industry.

Canada

The status of closed shops varies from province to province within Canada. The 1946 Supreme Court ruling Rand formula
Rand formula
In Canadian labour law, the Rand formula is a workplace situation where the payment of trade union dues is mandatory regardless of the worker's union status...

 determined largely that, while Section Two
Section Two of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Section Two of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the section of the Constitution of Canada's Charter of Rights that lists what the Charter calls "fundamental freedoms" theoretically applying to everyone in Canada, regardless of whether they are a Canadian citizen, or an individual or...

 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a bill of rights entrenched in the Constitution of Canada. It forms the first part of the Constitution Act, 1982...

 guaranteed both the freedom to associate and the freedom not to associate, employees in a work-environment largely dominated by a union were beneficiaries of union policies, and as such should pay union fees, regardless of membership status. However, religious and conscientious objectors were allowed the option of paying the amount to a registered charity instead.

United Kingdom

All forms of closed shops in the UK are strictly illegal under section 137(1)(a) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992
Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992
The Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1992 is a UK Act of Parliament which regulates British labour law. The Act applies in full in England and Wales and in Scotland, and partially in Northern Ireland....

 (c. 52).

Australia

All forms of closed shops in the Commonwealth are illegal under the Workplace Relations Act 1996
Workplace Relations Act 1996
The Workplace Relations Act 1996 is an Australian law passed by the Howard Government after coming into power in 1996. It replaced the previous Labor Government's Industrial Relations Act 1988. It started operation on 1 January 1997 and provided for the continuation of the federal award system...

.

See also

  • Open shop
    Open shop
    An open shop is a place of employment at which one is not required to join or financially support a union as a condition of hiring or continued employment...

  • Master contract
    Master contract
    A master contract is a contract reached between parties, in which the parties agree to most of the terms that will govern future transactions or future agreements...

  • Hiring hall
    Hiring hall
    In organized labor, a hiring hall is an organization, usually under the auspices of a labor union, which has the responsibility of furnishing new recruits for employers who have a collective bargaining agreement with the union....

  • Union shop
    Union shop
    A union shop is a form of a union security clause under which the employer agrees to hire either labor union members or nonmembers but all non-union employees must become union members within a specified period of time or lose their jobs...

  • Bump (union)
    Bump (union)
    In unionised organisations, be they private or public sector, "bumping" means a re-assignment of jobs on the basis of seniority. As an example, if a job becomes vacant, more than one person may be re-assigned to different tasks or ranks on the basis of who has worked for the organisation longer...

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