Massachusetts law about unions and collective bargaining

Laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on unions and collective bargaining law.

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Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

MGL c. 149, §§ 20 - 20E Coercion of agreement not to join a labor organization, etc.

MGL c. 150 Conciliation and arbitration of industrial disputes

MGL c. 150A Labor relations

MGL c. 150C Collective bargaining agreements to arbitrate

MGL c. 150E Public employee labor relations

  • § 7(a) "Any collective bargaining agreement reached between the employer and the exclusive representative shall not exceed a term of three years [unless there is] a provision in a collective bargaining agreement stating that the agreement's terms shall remain in full force and effect beyond the 3 years until a successor agreement is voluntarily negotiated by the parties."

Massachusetts regulations

456 CMR Mass. Department of Labor Relations

Federal laws

29 USC Chapter 7, Labor Management Relations Act. (Taft-Hartley Act, 1947)

29 USC Chapter 7, Subchapter II National Labor Relations Act. (Wagner Act, 1935). A subchapter within Chapter 7, but "not part of the 1947 Labor Management Relations Act".

29 USC Chapter 11 Labor-Management and Reporting and Disclosure Act. (Landrum-Griffin Act, 1959)

Selected court cases and agency decisions


Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations forms, includes forms for: public employment, private employment, conciliation, mediation, and arbitration.


Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations
Serves public sector employers, employees, and unions. Private sector employers, unions, or people represented by a union may be eligible to file an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the Department of Labor Relations.

National Labor Relations Board
An independent federal agency, which protects the rights of most private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve their wages and working condition.

Web sources

A guide to the Massachusetts public employee collective bargaining law, Mass. Dept. of Labor Relations.
This well-known book is now available online full-text. Includes detailed procedures, summary of law, and more.

NLRB bench book, National Labor Relations Board, 2021.
This bench book "sets forth Board precedent and other rulings and authorities on certain recurring procedural and evidentiary issues that may arise during the hearing. It is not a digest of substantive law. Nor should it be cited as precedent or considered a substitute for issue-specific research."

NLRB manuals, National Labor Relations Board. Includes:

  • NLRB Casehandling Manual: Compliance Proceeding, 2020.
    Long (over 300 p.) document covers all facets of compliance proceedings.
  • NLRB Casehandling Manual: Representation Proceedings, 2020.
    Long (over 300 p.) document covers the whole process from pre-election through post-election, including voting privacy.
  • NLRB Casehandling Manual: Unfair Labor Practice Proceedings, 2021.
    Extremely lengthy (almost 300 p.) online version of book covers everything you need to know about unfair labor practice.

Union basics, U.S. Dept. of Labor.

Your right to form a union, National Labor Relations Board.

Print sources

How to take a case before the NLRB, BNA, 10th ed., 2020. Note: Please contact the Trial Court Law Libraries for electronic access to the most current resource through interlibrary loan.

Labor and employment in Massachusetts, Jeffrey L. Hirsch, LexisNexis, loose-leaf.
Chapter 12: Unions and Collective Bargaining.

Massachusetts employer's guide, Blue Gavel Press, loose-leaf. Chapter 10: Unions and Government Contractors.

Massachusetts employment law, MCLE, loose-leaf. Chapter 21: Collective Activity and the National Labor Relations Act.

Massachusetts labor cases, Landlaw Legal Publishers, monthly. Includes the full text of the Mass. Department of Labor Relations’ decisions, along with fully annotated subject matter indices.

Massachusetts labor relations reporter, Landlaw Legal Publishers, monthly. Digested versions of Mass. Department of Labor Relations’ decisions affecting public employees, with comprehensive indices.

Municipal law and practice (Mass. practice v.18), Douglas A. Randall and Douglas E. Franklin, Thomson/West, with supplement.
Chapter 12: Labor Relations.

Your rights in the workplace by Sachi Barreiro, Nolo, 2018. (eBook available here with library card).

Contact   for Massachusetts law about unions and collective bargaining

Last updated: March 19, 2024

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