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open to retaliation for much legitimate activity that could improve their lot as employees. As this could "frustrate the policy of the Act to protect the right of workers to act together to better their working conditions,” NLRB v. Washington Aluminum Co., 370 U. S. 9, 14 (1962), we do not think that Congress could have intended the protection of $ 7 to be as narrow as petitioner insists. 17

It is true, of course, that some concerted activity bears a less immediate relationship to employees' interests as employees than other such activity. We may assume that at some point

17 Petitioner relies upon several cases said to construe $ 7 more narrowly than do we. NLRB v. Leslie Metal Arts Co., 509 F. 2d 811 (CA6 1975), and Shelly & Anderson Furniture Mfg. Co. v. NLRB, 497 F.2d 1200 (CA9 1974), both quote the same treatise for the proposition that to be protected under $7, concerted activity must seek "a specific remedy" for a "workrelated complaint or grievance." 509 F. 2d, at 813, and 497 F. 2d, at 1202–1203, quoting 18B T. Kheel, Labor Law $ 10.02 [3], pp. 10-21 (1973). It was unnecessary in those cases to decide whether the protection of g 7 went beyond the treatise's formulation, for the activity in both cases was held to be protected. Moreover, in stating its "rule," the treatise relied upon takes no note of the cases cited in nn. 13, 15, and 16, supra. Cf. R. Gorman, Labor Law 296–302 (1976). The Courts of Appeals for the Sixth and Ninth Circuits themselves have taken a broader view of the "mutual aid or protection" clause than the reference to the treatise in the above-cited cases would seem to suggest. See, e. g., Kellogg Co. v. NLRB, 457 F. 2d 519, 522–523 (CA6 1972), and cases there cited; Kaiser Engineers v. NLRB, supra, at 1384-1385.

Similarly, although the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit stated in NLRB v. Bretz Fuel Co., 210 F. 2d 392 (1954), that "concerted activity is protected only where such activity is intimately connected with the employees' immediate employment,” id., at 396, the holding in that case turned more on the fact that the activity there consisted of a wildcat strike in violation of a collective-bargaining agreement than on a narrow view of the “mutual aid or protection" clause. See id., at 397–398.

This leaves only G&W Electric Specialty Co. v. NLRB, 360 F. 2d 873 (CA7 1966), which refused to enforce a Board order because the concerted activity there circulation of a petition concerning management of an employee-run credit union—"involved no request for any action upon the part of the Company and did not concern a matter over which the Com

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the relationship becomes so attenuated that an activity cannot fairly be deemed to come within the "mutual aid or protection” clause. It is neither necessary nor appropriate, however, for us to attempt to delineate precisely the boundaries of the "mutual aid or protection" clause. That task is for the Board to perform in the first instance as it considers the wide variety of cases that come before it.18 Republic Aviation Corp. v. NLRB, 324 U. S., at 798; Phelps Dodge Corp. v. NLRB, 313 U. S. 177, 194 (1941). To decide this case, it is enough to determine whether the Board erred in holding that distribution of the second and third sections of the newsletter is for the purpose of “mutual aid or protection.”

pany bad control.” Id., at 876. G&W Electric cites no authority for its narrowing of g 7, and it ignores a substantial weight of authority to the contrary, including the Seventh Circuit's own prior holding in Fort Wayne Corrugated Paper Co. v. NLRB, 111 F. 2d, at 874. See n. 13, supra. We therefore do not view any of these cases as persuasive authority for petitioner's position.

18 See Ford Motor Co., 221 N. L. R. B. 663, 666 (1975), enf'd, 546 F. 2d 418 (CA3 1976) (holding distribution on employer's premises of a "purely political tract" unprotected even though "the election of any political candidate may have an ultimate effect on employment conditions"); cf. Ford Motor Co. (Rouge Complex), 233 N. L. R. B. 698, 705 (1977) (decision of Administrative Law Judge) (concession of General Counsel that distributions on employer's premises of literature urging participation in Revolutionary Communist Party celebration, and of Party's newspaper, were unprotected). The Board has not yet made clear whether it considers distributions like those in the above-cited cases to be unprotected altogether, or only on the employer's premises.

In addition, even when concerted activity comes within the scope of the "mutual aid or protection" clause, the forms such activity permissibly may take may well depend on the object of the activity. "The argument that the employer's lack of interest or control affords a legitimate basis for holding that a subject does not come within ‘mutual aid or protection' is unconvincing. The argument that economic pressure should be unprotected in such cases is more convincing.” Getman, The Protection of Economic Pressure by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, 115 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1195, 1221 (1967).

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The Board determined that distribution of the second section, urging employees to write their legislators to oppose incorporation of the state "right-to-work” statute into a revised state constitution, was protected because union security is "central to the union concept of strength through solidarity" and "a mandatory subject of bargaining in other than right-towork states.” 215 N. L. R. B., at 274. The newsletter warned that incorporation could affect employees adversely "by weakening Unions and improving the edge business has at the bargaining table.” The fact that Texas already has a "rightto-work” statute does not render employees' interest in this matter any less strong, for, as the Court of Appeals noted, it is "one thing to face a statutory scheme which is open to legislative modification or repeal" and "quite another thing to face the prospect that such a scheme will be frozen in a concrete constitutional mandate." 550 F. 2d, at 205. We cannot say that the Board erred in holding that this section of the newsletter bears such a relation to employees' interests as to come within the guarantee of the “mutual aid or protection” clause. See cases cited in n. 16, supra.

The Board held that distribution of the third section, criticizing a Presidential veto of an increase in the federal minimum wage and urging employees to register to vote to "defeat our enemies and elect our friends," was protected despite the fact that petitioner's employees were paid more than the vetoed minimum wage. It reasoned that the "minimum wage inevitably influences wage levels derived from collective bargaining, even those far above the minimum," and that "concern by (petitioner's] employees for the plight of other employees might gain support for them at some future time when they might have a dispute with their employer.” 215 N. L. R. B., at 274 (internal quotation marks omitted). We think that the Board acted within the range of its discretion in so holding. Few topics are of such immediate concern to employees as the level of their wages. The Board was

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entitled to note the widely recognized impact that a rise in the minimum wage may have on the level of negotiated wages generally, a phenomenon that would not have been lost on petitioner's employees. The union's call, in the circumstances of this case, for these employees to back persons who support an increase in the minimum wage, and to oppose those who oppose it, fairly is characterized as concerted activity for the “mutual aid or protection” of petitioner's employees and of employees generally.

In sum, we hold that distribution of both the second and the third sections of the newsletter is protected under the "mutual aid or protection" clause of $ 7.20


The question that remains is whether the Board erred in holding that petitioner's employees may distribute the newsletter in nonworking areas of petitioner's property during nonworking time. Consideration of this issue must begin with the Court's decisions in Republic Aviation Corp. v. NLRB, supra, and NLRB v. Babcock & Wilcox Co., 351 U. S. 105 (1956). In Republic Aviation the Court upheld the Board's ruling that an employer may not prohibit its employees from

19 See N. Chamberlain, Labor 435–437 (1958); L. Reynolds, Labor Economics and Labor Relations 272 (5th ed. 1970).

20 Petitioner argues that the "right to work” and minimum wage issues are "political," and that advancing a union's political views is not protected by $7. As almost every issue can be viewed by some as political, the clear purpose of the “mutual aid or protection" clause would be frustrated if the mere characterization of conduct or speech removed it from the protection of the Act. See cases cited in n. 16, supra. Moreover, what may be viewed as political in one context can be viewed quite differently in another. There may well be types of conduct or speech that are so purely political or so remotely connected to the concerns of employees as employees as to be beyond the protection of the clause. But this is a determination that should be left for case-by-case consideration. Cf. cases cited in n. 18, supra.

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distributing union organizational literature in nonworking areas of its industrial property during nonworking time, absent a showing by the employer that a ban is necessary to maintain plant discipline or production. This ruling obtained even though the employees had not shown that distribution off the employer's property would be ineffective. 324 U. S., at 798–799, 801. In the Court's view, the Board had reached an acceptable "adjustment between the undisputed right of self-organization assured to employees under the Wagner Act and the equally undisputed right of employers to maintain discipline in their establishments.” Id., at 797–798.21

In Babcock & Wilcox, on the other hand, nonemployees sought to enter an employer's property to distribute union organizational literature. The Board applied the rule of Republic Aviation in this situation, but the Court held that there is a distinction "of substance" between "rules of law applicable to employees and those applicable to nonemployees.” 351 U. S., at 113. The difference was that the nonemployees in Babcock & Wilcox sought to trespass on the employer's property, whereas the employees in Republic Aviation did not. Striking a balance between $ 7 organizational rights and an employer's right to keep strangers from entering on its property, the Court held that the employer in Babcock & Wilcox was entitled to prevent “nonemployee distribution of union literature (on its property) if reasonable efforts by the union through other available channels of communication will enable it to reach the employees with its message Id., at 112. The Court recently has emphasized the distinction between the two cases: “A wholly different balance was

21 In Republic Aviation the Court also upheld Board rulings that employees may solicit other employees to join a union on the employer's property during nonworking time, and may wear union insignia on the employer's property. The Board since has distinguished between distributions of literature and oral solicitation, holding that the latter but not the former may take place in working areas during nonworking time. Stoddard-Quirk Mfg. Co., 138 N. L. R. B. 615 (1962).

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