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NLRB reverses 38-year old precedent regarding property access rights of union organizers

Reversing its 1981 president, Montgomery Ward, the NL RB recently held that non-employee union representatives can be banned from public spaces within an employer’s property, such as cafeterias, if they engage in organizing activities in those areas. The decision signals an equally pro-employer approach will be adopted with regard to the Board’s 2014 decision, Purple Communications, which held employees can, under some conditions, use company email for organizing.

This new property-access decision is likely to be challenging on at least two fronts.

First, it may be difficult to apply. The majority admitted in this new decision that union representatives could still enter such spaces, so long as they do not engage in union organizing activities. In other words, it may be difficult for an employer to expel union representatives who are simply having lunch with employees in the public cafeteria, so long as they are not visibly engaged in organizing activities by, for example, handing out flyers or buttons.

Second, the decision is likely to be relatively short-lived. It will no doubt be reversed, and Montgomery Ward, reinstated, by the next Board appointed by a Democrat president.

Source: UPMC, case no. 06-CA-102465 (6/14/19).