Industrial relations can be defined as any relationships between management and employees in an industry. More specifically, industrial relations often addresses the relationship between management and groups of workers, especially those represented by a union or other collective association authorized to conduct collective bargaining. Among the legal and regulatory aspects included in industrial relations are union organizing and employer-union negotiations, and the ways that unions affect employment terms and society.
In the United States, public policy related to employment matters includes collective bargaining but also attends to all aspects of worker rights, including those of individuals, that are established by statute and judicial decisions. Among these are equal employment opportunity law and judicial decisions concerning employment-at-will, that is, freely entering into or terminating an employment relationship even without a formal contract.
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) is often known as the Wagner Act. Originally passed in 1935, according to the National Labor Relations Board official website, the NLRA was intended
to protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to curtail certain private sector labor and management practices, which can harm the general welfare of workers, businesses and the U.S. economy.
The NLRA addresses collective bargaining and unfair labor practices, but does not apply to government employers.