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forced the NLRB's order, rejecting petitioner's contention that $7's "mutual aid or protection" clause protects only concerted activity by employees that is directed at conditions that their employer has the authority or power to change or control, and that the second and third sections of the newsletter did not constitute such activity. The court concluded that "whatever is reasonably related to the employees' jobs or to their status or condition as employees in the plant may be the subject of such handouts as we treat of here, distributed on the plant premises in such a manner as not to interfere with the work ...," and that the material in the newsletter met that test. Held:

1. Distribution of the challenged second and third sections of the newsletter is protected under the “mutual aid or protection" clause of g 7. Pp. 563–570.

(a) The Act's definition of "employee" in 82 (3) was intended to protect employees when they engage in otherwise proper concerted activities in support of employees of employers other than their own, and it has long been held that “mutual aid or protection" encompasses such activity. Pp. 564–565.

(b) Employees do not lose their protection under the "mutual aid or protection" clause when they seek to improve terms and conditions of employment or otherwise improve their lot as employees through channels outside the immediate employee-employer relationship, and the .NLRB did not err in holding that distribution of the challenged parts of the newsletter was for the purpose of "mutual aid or protection.” Pp. 565–570.

2. The NLRB did not err in holding that petitioner's employees may distribute the newsletter in nonworking areas of petitioner's property during nonworking time. The fact that the distribution is to take place on petitioner's property does not give rise to a countervailing interest that petitioner can assert outweighing the exercise of $ 7 rights by its employees in that location. Under the circumstances of this case, the NLRB was not required to apply a rule different from the one it applied in Republic Aviation Corp. v. NLRB, 324 U. S. 793, to the effect that an employer may not prohibit his employees from distributing union literature (in that case organizational material) in nonworking areas of industrial property during nonworking time, absent & showing by the employer that a ban is necessary to maintain plant discipline or production. Here, as in Republic Aviation, petitioner's employees were “already rightfully on the employer's property," so that in the context of this case it is the employer's management interests rather than its property interests that primarily are implicated. Petitioner, however, made no attempt to show that its management interests would be prejudiced

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by distribution of the sections to which it objected, and any incremental intrusion on its property rights from their distribution together with the other sections would be minimal. In addition, viewed in context, the distribution was closely tied to vital concerns of the Act. Pp. 570

576. 550 F. 2d 198, affirmed.

POWELL, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BRENNAN, STEWART, WHITE, MARSHALL, BLACKMUN, and STEVENS, JJ., joined. WHITE, J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 578. REHNQUIST, J., filed & dissenting opinion, in which BURGER, C. J., joined, post, p. 579.

John B. Abercrombie argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the brief was Tom Martin Davis.

Richard A. Allen argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief were Solicitor General McCree, John S. Irving, Carl L. Taylor, Norton J. Come, Linda Sher, and David S. Fishback.*

MR. JUSTICE POWELL delivered the opinion of the Court.

Employees of petitioner sought to distribute a union newsletter in nonworking areas of petitioner's property during nonworking time urging employees to support the union and discussing a proposal to incorporate the state "right-to-work" statute into the state constitution and a Presidential veto of an increase in the federal minimum wage. The newsletter also called on employees to take action to protect their interests as employees with respect to these two issues. The question presented is whether petitioner's refusal to allow the distribution violated § 8 (a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, 61 Stat. 140, 29 U. S. C. $ 158 (a)(1), by interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees' exercise of their right under $7 of the Act, 29 U. S. C. $ 157, to engage in “concerted activities for the purpose of .. mutual aid or protection."

*William L. Keller and Stephen A. Bokat filed a brief for the Chamber of Commerce of the United States as amicus curiae urging reversal.

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Petitioner is a company that manufactures paper products in Silsbee, Tex. Since 1954, petitioner's production employees have been represented by Local 801 of the United Paperworkers International Union. It appears that many, although not all, of petitioner's approximately 800 production employees are members of Local 801. Since Texas is a "right-to-work” State by statute, Local 801 is barred from obtaining an agreement with petitioner requiring all production employees to become union members.

In March 1974, officers of Local 801, seeking to strengthen employee support for the union and perhaps recruit new members in anticipation of upcoming contract negotiations with petitioner, decided to distribute a union newsletter to petitioner's production employees. The newsletter was divided into four sections. The first and fourth sections urged employees to support and participate in the union and, more generally, extolled the benefits of union solidarity. The second section encouraged employees to write their legislators to oppose incorporation of the state "right-to-work” statute into a revised state constitution then under consideration, warning that incorporation would "weake[n] Unions and improv[e] the edge business has at the bargaining table.” The third section noted that the President recently had vetoed a bill to increase the federal minimum wage from $1.60 to $2.00 per hour, compared this action to the increase of prices and profits in the oil industry under administration policies, and admonished: “As working men and women we must defeat our enemies and

1 Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann., Art. 5154g, $ 1; Art. 52078, 82 (Vernon 1971).

2 The president of Local 801 testified: “We were going into negotiations, and ... we was [sic] trying to reorganize our group into a stronger group. We were trying to get members, people that were working there who were non-members, and try to motivate or strengthen the conviction of our members, and it was to organize a little.” App. 11.

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elect our friends. If you haven't registered to vote, please do so today.

On March 26, 1974, Hugh Terry, an employee of petitioner and vice president of Local 801, asked Herbert George, petitioner's assistant personnel director, for permission to distribute the newsletter to employees in the "clock alley” that leads to petitioner's time clocks. George doubted whether management would allow employees to "hand out propaganda like that,” but agreed to check with his superiors. Leonard Menius, petitioner's personnel director, confirmed that petitioner would not allow employees to distribute the newsletter in clock alley. A few days later George communicated this decision to Terry, but gave no reasons for it.

On April 22, 1974, Boyd Young, president of Local 801,5 together with Terry and another employee, asked George whether employees could distribute the newsletter in any nonworking areas of petitioner's property other than clock alley. After conferring again with Menius, George reported


3 The newsletter is reprinted in full as an appendix to this opinion.

4 The Administrative Law Judge described “clock alley” as “a passageway 6 or 7 feet wide, flanked on either side by administrative offices. In addition to time clocks, the area contains an employee bulletin board and benches and chairs for those waiting to transact business in the offices. Clock alley is physically discrete from the production areas of the plant.” 215 N. L. R. B. 271, 273 n. 7 (1974).

Young, a longtime employee of petitioner, was on leave to serve as president of Local 801.

Young testified that he had asked “permission for employees of the Company to be allowed to distribute this on non-working hours, on non-production areas, and specifically outside the clock alley; and if that area posed a problem, we would be willing to move to any area convenient to the Company, out on the end of the walk or guardhouse or parking lot, that we would only hand it out to employees leaving the plant, and where it wouldn't cause a litter problem in the plant.” App. 8-9. The Administrative Law Judge credited Young's testimony that the request was only for employees to distribute the newsletter. 215 N. L. R. B., at 273 n. 9.


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that employees would not be allowed to do so and that petitioner thought the union had other ways to communicate with employees. Local 801 then filed an unfair practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (Board), alleging that petitioner's refusal to allow employees to distribute the newsletter in nonworking areas of petitioner's property during nonworking time interfered with, restrained, and coerced employees' exercise of their $ 7 rights in violation of $ 8 (a)(1).”

At a hearing on the charge, Menius testified that he had no objection to the first and fourth sections of the newsletter. He had denied permission to distribute the newsletter because he "didn't see any way in which [the second and third sections were] related to our association with the Union.” App. 19. The Administrative Law Judge held that although not all of the newsletter had immediate bearing on the relationship between petitioner and Local 801, distribution of all its contents was protected under $ 7 as concerted activity for the "mutual aid or protection" of employees. Because petitioner had presented no evidence of "special circumstances" to justify a ban on the distribution of protected matter by employees in nonworking areas during nonworking time, the Administrative Law Judge held that petitioner had violated § 8 (a)(1) and ordered petitioner to cease and desist from the violation. The Board

? Section 8 (a)(1) makes it an unfair labor practice "to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in" 87 of the Act.

8 Because no evidence of "special circumstances" had been presented, the Administrative Law Judge did not consider whether alternative channels of communication were available to Local 801. 215 N. L. R. B., at 275 n. 13. In the alternative, the judge held that even if distribution of the second and third sections of the newsletter was not protected by $ 7, distribution of the newsletter as a whole was protected. Id., at 274, relying on Samsonite Corp., 206 N. L. R. B. 343 (1973).

The Administrative Law Judge also held that petitioner maintained an overbroad no-solicitation rule. 215 N. L. R. B., at 272. Petitioner did

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