A union seeking to organize a construction employer’s drywall workers did not violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by following the employer’s supervisors and managers aggressively in cars – including running red lights to maintain pace – from the employer’s main office to various jobsites.
Section 8(b)(1)(A) of the NLRA prohibits unions from restraining or coercing a company’s employees. The National Labor Relations Board has previously found that throwing rocks, placing tacks in the roads assaulting supervisors, damaging vehicles, preventing people and vehicles from entering onto company property, threats from pickets, fights, and mass picketing activity directed to non-union employees violate Section 8(b)(1)(A) as restraining or coercing a company’s employees.
But the Board did not find lesser conduct to violate the Act though directed at employees when no one was injured, nothing was thrown, no one was prevented from going to work or leaving, and no vehicle was damaged.
The NLRB decided that the Union’s conduct did not rise to the requisite level of unlawful restraint or coercion because the union organizers did not verbally threaten the employer’s managers of supervisors or engage in any other intimidating conduct toward them. Call me a wimp, but being trailed and chased by a car that is running red lights to keep up with me could be intimidating.
Worth noting, the Board also said that no violation of the Act occurred because no employee covered by the Act was followed. Supervisors are not covered by the NLRA. If you’re thinking that this case gives union organizers the right to threaten, intimidate, stalk, scare, and shadow a company’s management team hoping to “convince” the team to not oppose unionization, you’re right. Welcome to life under the new NLRB.
Matt Austin is a Columbus, Ohio lawyer who owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm with offices in central and northeast Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. Austin Legal’s Concierge Legal Services program is relied upon by companies to remain compliant and competitive. If you have employees, you need Concierge Legal Services. You can call Matt at (614) 285-5342 or email him at Austin@LaborEmploymentOSHA.com.