Jurisdictional Disputes occur when trade unions have conflicting claims over trade work. Most collective bargaining agreements set out a process in which unions can engage to settle their disputes with one another regarding an assignment of trade work on any given project. It is important to note that jurisdictional disputes exist between unions and not employers. Therefore the settlements of such disputes are the prerogative of the respective unions involved in the disputes and not the Employer. The union agreements need to be read carefully. Well drafted labor agreements make it clear that jurisdictional disputes are not grievances between a union and the employer and thus they are not subject to resolution by the grievance provisions of the labor agreement. A jurisdictional dispute must be solved by the process in the agreement dealing with that subject applying the specified procedure. Well drafted labor agreements also exclude the employer from liability for back pay if they act in good faith in making such assignments. Not all labor agreements clarify this back pay position.
When making an aware of specific work the contractor needs to examine the jurisdictional claims of each labor agreement. If they are conflicting or overlapping other issues such as local and national assignment history and efficiency of performing the work need to be examined. These are the factors that the NLRB will consider if the unions takes the matter to that level for resolution.