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Sterling Employment Law

Employment relations commission resolves employment disputes

Many workers in Michigan may be aware that there are certain pre-requisites that must be satisfied before a class action lawsuit, a strike or a lockout can be called in order to settle work disputes. In the absence of these measures, the consequences of deciding to stop work may not be wise. Therefore, all possible options of employment dispute settlement should be explored before workers decide on other methods.

If the parties are unable to reach a settlement regarding any employment dispute, representatives of the employees may serve a notice of dispute along with a statement of issues to the employers or their representatives and to the employment relations commission, at least ten days before the lockout becomes effective. The notice may either be served personally or sent by registered mail. The commission may intervene and use its powers to settle the dispute through mediation with both parties participating in the mediation process.

If the commission understands that a settlement is not possible through mediation, it may propose that an election be held that would be conducted and supervised by the commission itself or by a chosen representative. The commission may order the election to be held between 10 and 20 days after serving notice regarding the elections. All employees should be allowed to vote and the election should be conducted through a secret ballot. The elections are generally held at the disputed workplace itself, unless decided otherwise by the commission.

The commission holds complete authority in setting the rules for the election, including provisions for absentee voting. The commission may conduct a hearing in order to settle any issue or dispute regarding voters. The commission also tries to resolve disputes through education and training programs and enforces statutes that protect the rights of employees in both the public and private sectors.

Source: Michigan Legislature, "Labor Disputes and Employment Relations," Accessed on May 9, 2015

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