Charles J. Morris

Emeritus faculty

Professor Emeritus of Law



Charles J. Morris, Emeritus Professor of Law, is an eminent authority on labor law.  He began his legal career in 1948 as an associate in a prominent Dallas labor law firm, became a partner in 1952, and remained with that firm, Mullinax, Wells, Morris, & Mauzy, until 1966, when he joined the SMU Law faculty as a visiting professor (after two years of adjunct teaching).  He was a professor from 1968 to 1991, when he became an emeritus professor and moved to San Diego, California, where he continued actively working in his chosen field.  During his eighteen years in private practice he was extensively involved in trial and appellate work in state and federal courts and before the NLRB and arbitration tribunals.  Some highlights of that practice:  Chief counsel in two major U.S. Supreme Court cases, one that established the unlawfulness of extending exclusive recognition to a minority union and one that held, reversing prior law, that only federal courts had jurisdiction to interpret and enforce collective agreements under the Railway Labor Act.  In the Texas Supreme Court he obtained review in all five cases in which he sought writ of error or habeas corpus and was victorious in each, thereby establishing several important doctrines in Texas labor law.  In a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals action he obtained reinstatement for a group of airline pilots with back-pay of approximately $1,500,000, which at the time (1967) was the largest back-pay award ever issued in a single union discrimination case.  His bar association and related activity included chairmanship of the Labor Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, chairmanships of three major committees of the Labor Law Section of the American Bar Association, and chairmanships of every annual Southwestern Legal Foundation Labor Law Institute from 1962 through 1973 (thus continuing his leadership of that institute after joining the SMU Law faculty).

Since joining the SMU law faculty, Professor Morris has published numerous books and law review articles and other writings in the field of labor law and labor arbitration.  His books include the first two editions of the standard treatise on the law of the National Labor Relations Act, The Developing Labor Law: The Board, The Courts,and the National Labor Relations Act, also American Labor Policy: A Critical Appraisal of the National Labor Relation Act, and The Blue Eagle at Work: Reclaiming Democratic Rights in the American Workplace.  He has been and continues to be a frequent speaker, lecturer, and presenter of scholarly papers on a variety of labor law subjects.  His legal representations and pro bono activity in important court and NLRB proceedings have made major contributions to the shaping of American labor law, including the NLRB’s first adoption of substantive rulemaking, application of the Weingarten rule to nonunion workplaces, and the seminal Electromation decision on employee committees. He initiated the rulemaking petition for a general notice-posting rule which the NLRB issued regarding rights and duties under the NLRA, and filed amicus briefs in the federal cases that followed that action. His law-building representational activities have included representation of the Steelworkers Union in several NLRB actions regarding minority-union collective bargaining, all of which are based on the thesis of his book, The Blue Eagle at Work.  That issue is alive and awaiting settlement in current legal activity, and is the subject of his latest book, How the Working Class can Help the Middle Class: Reintroducing Non-Majority Collective Bargaining to the American Workplace.

Professor Morris has presided over and written awards in over 300 labor-management arbitration cases, many of which have been published.  Since 1970 he has been a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators and has served on its Board of Governors and chaired several of its committees.  In 1978 he was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the Federal Service Impasses Panel and reappointed in 1979 as a charter member of that Panel under the newly enacted Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Act, a position in held for three additional years. 

Professor Morris’ areas of teaching were Labor and Employment Law, including law under the National Labor Relations Act, the Railway Labor Act, and Labor Arbitration; Administrative Law; Constitutional Law; Alternative Dispute Resolution; Evidence; and Civil Procedure.  He regularly supervised an LLM labor law program that was especially attractive to many young foreign lawyers.  He was a visiting professor at Monash University (Melbourne, Australia) in 1974, at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and its School of Law from 1977 to 1979, and at the University of San Diego School of Law in 1987 and 1988.

Areas of Expertise

  • Labor Law


J.D. (LL.B.), Columbia University School of Law, 1948
A.B., Temple University (Army Specialized Training Program) 1944
Washington and Lee University (Army Specialized Training Program) 1943
University of Chicago, 1942-43
Rice University, 1940-42




THE BLUE EAGLE at Work: Reclaiming Democratic Rights in the American Workplace (Cornell University Press—ILR Imprint, 2005).                       

AMERICAN LABOR POLICY:  A CRITICAL APPRAISAL OF THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT, Editor and Co-author, (Analytical and Summary Preface, and Essay, "Board Procedures, Remedies, and the Enforcement Process" (BNA Books, Inc., 1988). 

THE  DEVELOPING LABOR LAW—THE BOARD, THE COURTS,  AND THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT, Second  Edition (Editor-in-Chief and principal author), BNA Books, Inc. 1983, two-volumes (the standard legal treatise on the law of the National Labor Relations Act).

THE FUTURE OF LABOR  ARBITRATION IN AMERICAN, with B. Aaron, et al  (The Role of Interest Arbitration In A Collective  Bargaining System), American Arbitration Association, 1976.

INDIVIDUALS  AND UNIONS, with J. Dunsford and R. Alleyne, Labor Law Group, BNA Books, Inc., 1973.

THE  DEVELOPING LABOR LAW - THE BOARD, THE COURTS,  AND THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT, Editor-in-Chief and principal author, BNA  Books, Inc., 1971.  (First edition of treatise noted above.)



(selected  24 of  75; see full CV for remainder)

A “Tale of Two Statutes” Redux:  Anti-Union Discharges Under the NLRA and RLA, with a Solution, Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law (2019).

Freeing the Captives: How Captive-Audience Meetings Under the NLRB Can be Controlled, 69 American University’s Administrative Law Review 869 (2017).

Undercutting Linden Lumber: How a Union can Achieve Majority Status Collective-Bargaining Without an Election,lead article  35 Hofstra’s Labor & Employment Law Journal 1 (2017).

Notice-Posting of Employee Rights:  NLRB Rulemaking and the Upcoming Backfire, 67 Rutgers University Law Review1367 (2015).

How the National Labor Relations Act was Stolen and How it can be Recovered: Taft-Hartley Revisionism and the National Labor Relations Board’s Appointment Process, 33 Berkeley Journal Of Employment And Labor Law 1 (2012).    

The Congressional Policy of the National Labor Relations Act: Revisionism Exposed, 60 Labor Law Journal 35  (2009).   

Pemberton Lecture: Collective Rights as Human Rights:  Fulfilling Senator Wagner’s Promise of Democracy in the Workplace—The Blue Eagle Can Fly Again, 39 University Of San Francisco Law Review 701 (2005).

A Tale of Two Statutes: Discrimination for Union Activity Under the NLRA and RLA, 2 Employee Rights & Employment Policy Journal 317 (1998); (Reprinted in 54th N.Y.U. Conference on Labor Law, 1999)

A Dialogue with the Chairman of the Labor Board: Challenging Conventional Wisdom on the Impact of Current Law on Alternative Forms of Employee Representation, 15 Hofstra Labor Law Journal 319 (1998).

A Blueprint for Reform of the National Labor Relations Act, 8 Administrative Law Journal Of American University 517 (1994).

Déjà Vu and 8(a)(2): What's Really Being Chilled by Electromation?, 4 cornell journal of law and public policy 25 (1994).

Renaissance at the NLRB—Opportunity and Prospect for Non-Legislative Procedural Reform a the Labor Board, 23 Stetson Law Review 101 (1993).

NLRB Protection in the Non-Union Workplace: A Glimpse at a General Theory of Section 7 Conduct, 137 University Of Pennsylvania Law Review 1673 (1989).

The NLRB in the Dog House: Can an Old Board Learn New Tricks?, 14 San Diego Law Review 9 (1987) (lead article in Labor Symposium issue).

EGAPs—Arbitration Plans for Nonunion Employees, 14 Pepperdine Law Review 827 (1987).

The Role of the NLRB and the Courts in the  Collective Bargaining Process: A Fresh Look  at Conventional Wisdom and Unconventional Remedies, 30 Vanderbilt Law Review 66 (1977).

The Role of Interest Arbitration in a Collective Bargaining System, 1 Berkley Industrial Relations Law Journal 427 (1976).

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Public Employee Bargaining in Texas—But Were Afraid to Ask, 13 Houston Law Review 291 (1976).

Successorship and the Collective Bargaining  Agreement: Accommodating Wiley and Burns, 59  Virginia Law Review 1359 (1973) (With Wm. Gaus).

The Case for Unitary Enforcement of Federal  Labor Law—Concerning a Specialized Article III Court and the Reorganization of Existing Agencies, 26 Southwestern Law Journal 471  (1972).

Labor and Employment Law in the United States A Patchwork of Protections, Perils, and Promises, in Proceedings Of First Annual United States - Mexico International Labor Law Conference (U.S. Department Of Labor And Secretaria Del Trabajo Y Prevision Social De Mexico, 1993) 3, Keynote paper; (also published in DAILY LABOR REPORT (BNA), October 27, 1992, Full Text Section E-1).

Twenty Years of Trilogy: A Celebration, in J. Stern & B. Dennis eds. Decisional Thinking  Of Arbitrators And Judges 331 (33rd Annual Meeting, National Academy of Arbitrators) (1981).

 An Outsider's Affectionate View of Labour Trends in Canada: A Comparison of  Developments on Both Sides of the Border, in Proceedings of 25th Annual Conference, Industrial Relations Centre, McGill  University, Montreal (1978).



Other Publications

Essays in Collections:

(selected 5 of  21; see full CV)

Chapter 29, Returning Members-Only Collective Bargaining To The American Workplace:  How To Restore Labor's Countervailing Power, THE CAMBRIDGE HANDBOOK OF U.S. LABOR LAW: REVIVING AMERICAN LABOR FOR A 21ST CENTURY ECONOMY (R. Bales & C. Garden eds, 2019).

Chapter 12, Members-Only Collective Bargaining: A Back-to-Basics Approach to Union Organizing, in Justice on the Job: Perspectives on the Erosion of Collective Bargaining in the United States  (Richard N. Block, et al ed. Upjohn, 2006).

Historical Background of Labor Arbitration: Lessons from the Past, in M. Zimny, W. Dolson, & C. Barreca, eds, LABOR ARBITRATION: A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR ADVOCATES 3 (1990).

NLRB Rulemaking: Promise and Prospects, in INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS RESEARCH ASSOCIATION SERIES, Proceedings of 42nd Annual Meeting, 1989, 210 (also published in DAILY LABOR REPORT (BNA), January 3, 1990, Full Text Section D-1, and in THE BRIEF of SMU School of Law, Spring, 1990).

NLRB Deferral to the Arbitration Process: The Arbitrator’s Awesome Responsibility, in W. Gershenfeld ed. Arbitration 1984: Absenteeism, Recent Law, Panels, and Published Decisions 51 (1985). 

Twenty Years of Trilogy: A Celebration, in J. Stern & B. Dennis eds. DECISIONAL THINKING  OF ARBITRATORS AND JUDGES 331 (33rd Annual Meeting, National Academy of Arbitrators) (1981).



Guest Post:  Senator Wagner Still Speaks, and We Should Listen, https://onlabor.org2019/11/21

Guest Post: How President Trump Could Surprise with Improvenent for the NLRB and a Boost for the Middle Class, https://onlabor.org2017/01/15

Guest Post: The Blue Eagle May Be Ready to Fly Again, https://onlabor.org2016/09/21

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Predicts Members-Only Collective Bargaining, May 1, 2014,

Labor Unions and the Mddle Class—A Tandem Relation, Dec. 10, 2013,

Members-Only Collective Bargaining: Get Ready for an Old Concept with a New Use, Aug. 1, 2013,


Sample Published Arbitration Opinions:                                

Container Corp. of America & United Paper Makers & Paperworkers, Local 746, 51 BNA Labor Arbitration Reports 1146 (1969).

General Tel. Co. of Southwest & Communication Workers of America, 53 BNA Labor Arbitration Reports 247 (1970).

Seaboard Coast Line R.R. Co. & United Transportation Union,53 BNA Labor Arbitration Reports 578 (1970).

lintkote Co. & International Woodworkers of America, Local 5-50, 53 BNA Labor Arbitration Reports 731 (1970); also in 70-1 CCH Labor Arbitration Awards ¶ 8050 (1970).

General Tel. Co. of Southwest & Communication Workers of America, 58 BNA Labor Arbitration Reports 409 (1972); also in 72-1 CCH Labor Arbitration Awards ¶ 8031 (1972).

South Central Bell Telephone Co. & Communication Workers of America 79-2 CCH Labor Arbitration Awards ¶ 8363 (1979).

South Central Bell Telephone Co. & Communication Workers of America, 72 BNA Labor Arbitration Reports 333 (1979).

Keebler Co. & Bakery, Confectionery & Tobacco Workers' Int'l Union, Local 434, 75 BNA Labor Arbitration Reports 975 (1981).

Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, Fed. Correctional Unit, F.W., & American Federation of Gov't Employees, Local 1298, 85 Fed. Labor Relations Reporter 2-1624 (1985); also in Labor Arb. Info. Serv. 16890 (1985).

Dept. of Agriculture, Food Safety & Quality Serv. & American Federation of Gov't Employees, Local 2650, 86 Fed. Labor Relations Reporter 2-1818 (1986); also in Labor Arb. Info. Serv. 17092 (1986).

Dept. of Defense, Air Force, Kelly AFB, and American Federation of Gov't Employees, Local 1617, 86 Fed. Labor Relations Reporter 2-1846 (1986); also in Labor Arb. Info. Serv. 17121 (1986).

City of Henderson, Nevada, & Teamsters, Local 14, 88-2 CCH Labor Arbitration Awards ¶ 8576 (1988); also in 91 BNA Labor Arbitration Reports 941 (1989).

Reynolds Electrical & Eng'g Co. & Teamsters, Local 631, 89-1 CCH Labor Arbitration Awards ¶ 8025 (1989); also in 91 BNA Labor Arbitration Reports 1289 (1989).

Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. & United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America, Local 218, 93 BNA Labor Arbitration Reports 233 (1989).

Pan Am World Services, Inc. [Los Alamos, N.M.] and United Association of Journeymen & Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry, Local 412, 93 BNA Labor Arbitration Reports 348 (1989).

Southwest Airlines. Co. and International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 19, 93 BNA Labor Arbitration Reports 575 (1989).

Centel Business Systems, Inc., Fisk Div. and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union No. 716, 90-2 CCH Labor Arbitration Awards ¶ 8558 (1990).

City of Oklahoma City and American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Local No. 2406, 95 BNA Labor Arbitration Reports 442 (1990).

City of Houston and Individual Grievant, 95 BNA Labor Arbitration Reports 1193 (1991).

Quaker Oats Company & United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 540, 91-2 CCH Labor Arbitration Awards ¶ 8524 (1991).

Levi Strauss & Company (Little Rock, Ark.) and Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union, Southwest Regional Joint Board, 97 BNA Labor Arbitration Reports 1095 (1992); also in 92-1 CCH Labor Arbitration Awards ¶ 8282 (1992).




(selected 20 of 168, recent years only;  see full CV)

Panel Presentation: The Future of American Labor Law, Labor Law Group Conference, University of.California Los Angeles, December 9, 2016.

Panel Presentation:  New Organizing Tools—Concerted Action With or Without a Union, Conference of San Francisco Labor & Employment Law Bar Section, Yosemite National Park, January 31, 2015.

Keynote speechMembers-Only Collective Bargaining:  An Old Concept With a New Use.  Conference on “New Models of Worker Representation” sponsored by University of Illinois, Labor Education Program, Chicago, March 7, 2013.

Panel presentation:  Intersections in Scholarship and Activism, Conference of Labor Law Group, Ashville, North Caroliona, June 22, 2012.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Panel presentation: (with Samuel Estreicher, NYU Law School): Minority Recognition and the Members Only Contract: A Revival in the Wings? Can and should the Board require recognition and bargaining with minority unions?  ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law Committee on Practice and Procedure Under the NLRA, midwinter meeting, Naples, Florida, February 21, 2008.

Paper and presentation: What’s New is Old:  How the United States can Comply with its Obligations Under the Labor Provisions of the ICCPR and the 1998 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.  Conference on The Global Workplace: Expanding Intellectual Borders with International and Comparative Workplace Law, sponsored by Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law, and Louisiana State University School of Law, San Diego, February 15, 2008.

Lecture: Back to the Future: Reviving Minority-Union Collective Bargaining under the National Labor Relations Act, sponsored by UCLA School of Law and UCLA Institute of Industrial Relations, Los Angeles, April 11, 2006.

Lecture: Minority-Union Collective Bargaining Under the National Labor Relations Act: Debunking Conventional Wisdom, Dedman School of Law, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, March 8, 2006.

Speech: Can Less be More? “Members Only” Bargaining in the Modern Workplace, annual conference of Labor & Employment Law Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco, Yosemite, California, February 25, 2006.

Featured speaker: Members-Only Collective Bargaining, at “Unions and the Feds” conference sponsored by University of Hawaii and Federal Labor Agencies, Honolulu, August 3, 2005.

Radio interview: The Blue Eagle at Work, Wendy Wilde Show, Air America Minnesota, AM 950, July 29, 2005.

Radio interview: Members-Only Collective Bargaining, Voices at Work, KPFT, 90.1 FM, Houston, March 1, 2005.

Keynote address: Union-Only Collective Bargaining, 4th Annual Oklahoma Labor/Management Conference, Shangri-La Resort, Afton, OK, June 12, 2002.

Speech: Employees’ Rights in the Nonunion Workplace—Achieving Employee Involvement Without the TEAM Act, Montana Employee Relations Conference, Missoula, Montana, Montana Employee Relations and Dispute Resolution Conference, Missoula, Montana, September 24, 1997.

Speech: Employee’ Rights in the Nonunion Workplace: Implications for Unions and Employers, 30th Annual Pacific Coast Labor & Employment Law Conference sponsored by University of Washington Law School Foundation, Seattle, May 15, 1997.

Paper: Demystifying the Law of Employee Involvement: Electromation and the TEAM Bill Brouhaha, Conference on Unions and Management Working Together, sponsored by The Manufacturing Institute, Div. Institute for International Research, Las Vegas, May 22, 1996.

Paper: Will there be a New Direction For American Industrial Relations?--A Hard Look at the TEAM Bill, the Sawyer Substitute Bill, and the Employee Involvement Bill, 11th Annual Conference on Labor & Employment Law, Stetson University College of Law, Clearwater, Florida, January 18, 1996.

Panel Discussion: American Labor Policy: From Here to Where, 60th Anniversary of the NLRB and the Wagner Act, conference sponsored by Cornell University School of Industrial & Labor Relations and the National Labor Relations Board, Washington, D.C., October 6, 1995.

Workshop Moderator and Panelist: From Crisis to Cooperation, Canada-Mexico-U.S. Workshops on Labor Law and Practice, co-sponsored by U.S. Department of Labor and governmental agencies of Mexico and Canada, La Jolla, CA, June 27 & 30, 1994.

Grievance Procedures in the Non-Union Workplace—Beware the Jabberwock and the Pitfalls of the National Labor Relations Act, 19th Annual Labor and Employment Law Institute sponsored by Minnesota State Bar Association, Minneapolis, Nov. 20, 1992.