|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
In organized labor, a hiring hall is an organization, usually under the auspices of a labor union, which has the responsibility of furnishing new recruits for employers who have a collective bargaining agreement with the union.
The employer's use of the hiring hall may be voluntary, or it may be compulsory by the terms of the employer's contract with the union (or, in a few cases, the labor laws of the jurisdiction in question). Compulsory use of a hiring hall effectively turns employers into a closed shop because employees must join the union before they can be hired. Since closed shops are illegal in the United States, all hiring halls in that country presumably operate on a voluntary basis. By contrast, the prevalence of compulsory hiring hall arrangements in Canada varies from trade to trade and from province to province, since labor law there is under provincial jurisdiction. The situation in Europe also varies from country to country.
The presence of a hiring hall places the responsibility on the union to ensure that its members are suitably qualified and responsible individuals before assigning them to an employer. The union will often enforce a basic code of conduct amongst its members to ensure smooth operation of the hiring hall (to prevent members from double-booking, for example). If a hiring hall is reputable, the relationship between the union and the employer can be relatively harmonious. Many employers, particularly those who require skilled tradespeople, prefer to use the services of a reputable hiring hall rather than attempt to find qualified, responsible recruits by themselves.
Hiring halls are generally most prevalent in skilled trades and where employers need to find qualified recruits on short notice.