Lapas attēli
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

struck when the organizational activity was carried on by employees already rightfully on the employer's property, since the employer's management interests rather than his property interests were there involved.” Hudgens v. NLRB, 424 U. S., at 521-522, n. 10; see also Central Hardware Co. v. NLRB, 407 U. S., at 543–545.

It is apparent that the instant case resembles Republic Aviation rather closely. Here, as there, employees sought to distribute literature in nonworking areas of their employer's industrial property during nonworking time. Here, as there, the employer has not attempted to show that distribution would interfere with plant discipline or production. And here, as there, distribution of the newsletter clearly would be protected by $ 7 Against employer discipline if it took place off the employer's property. The only possible ground of distinction is that part of the newsletter in this case does not address purely organizational matters, but rather concerns other activity protected by $ 7. The question, then, is whether this difference required the Board to apply a different rule here than it applied in Republic Aviation.

Petitioner contends that the Board must distinguish among distributions of protected matter by employees on an employer's property on the basis of the content of each distribution. Echoing its earlier argument, petitioner urges that the Republic Aviation rule should not be applied if a distribution "does not involve a request for any action on the part of the employer, or does not concern a matter over which the employer has any degree of control ... Brief for Petitioner 28. In petitioner's view, distribution of any other matter protected by § 7 would be an "unnecessary intrusio[n] on the employer's property rights,” id., at 29, in the absence of a showing by employees that no alternative channels of communication with fellow employees are available.

We hold that the Board was not required to adopt this view in the case at hand. In the first place, petitioner's reliance on

1

[blocks in formation]

its property right is largely misplaced. Here, as in Republic Aviation, petitioner's employees are "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. Hudgens, supra, at 521-522, n. 10. As already noted, petitioner made no attempt to show that its management interests would be prejudiced in any way by the exercise of $ 7 rights proposed by its employees here. Even if the mere distribution by employees of material protected by $ 7 can be said to intrude on petitioner's property rights in any meaningful sense, the degree of intrusion does not vary with the content of the material. Petitioner's only cognizable property right in this respect is in preventing employees from bringing literature onto its property and distributing it there not in choosing which distributions protected by 8 7 it wishes to suppress.“

On the other side of the balance, it may be argued that the employees' interest in distributing literature that deals with matters affecting them as employees, but not with selforganization or collective bargaining, is so removed from the central concerns of the Act as to justify application of a different rule than in Republic Aviation. Although such an argument may have force in some circumstances, see Hudgens, supra, at 522, the Board to date generally has chosen not to engage in such refinement of its rules regarding the distribution

22

22 In addition, we doubt whether the test proposed by petitioner for the protection of its property rights can be squared with Republic Aviation itself, for the organizational literature in that case did not "involve a request for any action on the part of the employer, or ... concern a matter over which the employer [had] any degree of control.”

To be sure, if the material distributed on the premises of the employer were inflammatory to the point of threatening disorder or other interruption of the normal functioning of the business, the exception noted in Republic Aviation with respect to interference with discipline or production would be fully applicable. See Procter & Gamble Mfg. Co., 160 N. L. R. B. 334, 395 (1966).

[blocks in formation]

of literature by employees during nonworking time in nonworking areas of their employers' property. We are not prepared to say in this case that the Board erred in the view it took.

It is apparent that the complexity of the Board's rules and the difficulty of the Board's task might be compounded greatly if it were required to distinguish not only between literature that is within and without the protection of g 7, but also among subcategories of literature within that protection. In addition, whatever the strength of the employees' § 7 interest in distributing particular literature, the Board is entitled to view the intrusion by employees on the property rights of their employer as quite limited in this context as long as the employer's management interests are adequately protected. The Board also properly may take into account the fact that the plant is a particularly appropriate place for the distribution of $7 material, because it “is the one place where [employees] clearly share common interests and where they traditionally seek to persuade fellow workers in matters affecting their union organizational life and other matters related to their status as employees.Gale Products, 142 N. L. R. B. 1246, 1249 (1963).

We need not go so far in this case, however, as to hold that the Republic Aviation rule properly is applied to every in-plant distribution of literature that falls within the protective ambit of $7. This is a new area for the Board and the courts which has not yet received mature considerationIt may be that the

23 In addition to the instant case, the Board has extended the rule of Republic Aviation to a limited extent to encompass nonorganizational literature complaining about an incumbent union's leadership or bargaining position. Samsonite Corp., 206 N. L. R. B. 343 (1973); McDonnell Douglas Corp., 210 N. L. R. B. 280 (1974); General Motors Corp., 212 N. L. R. B. 133 (1974); The Singer Co., 220 N. L. R. B. 1179 (1975); Ford Motor Co., 221 N. L. R. B. 663 (1975), enf'd, 546 F. 2d 418 (CA3 1976). In one case it applied the rule to literature exhorting employees

[blocks in formation]

“nature of the problem, as revealed by unfolding variant situations,” requires "an evolutionary process for its rational response, not a quick, definitive formula as a comprehensive answer." Electrical Workers v. NLRB, 366 U. S. 667, 674 (1961). For this reason, we confine our holding to the facts of this case.

Petitioner concedes that its employees were entitled to distribute a substantial portion of this newsletter on its property. In addition, as we have held above, the sections to which petitioner objected concern activity which petitioner, in the absence of a countervailing interest of its own, is not entitled to suppress. Yet petitioner made no attempt to show that its management interests would be prejudiced in any manner by distribution of these sections, and in our view any incremental intrusion on petitioner's property rights from their distribution together with the other sections would be minimal. Moreover, it is undisputed that the union undertook the distribution in order to boost its support and improve its bargaining position in upcoming contract negotiations with petitioner. Thus, viewed in context, the distribution was closely tied to vital concerns of the Act. In these circum

"to support employees of other employers who were on strike and to oppose an alleged antilabor combination.” Yellow Cab, Inc., 210 N. L. R. B., at 569. On the other hand, it has not allowed distribution of "purely political" material on employers' premises, even when the material might arguably be within the scope of 87. See n. 18, supra. This Court already has approved the Board's limited extension of the Republic Aviation rule to cover the distribution of literature by dissident employees advocating the displacement of a union. See NLRB v. Magnavox Co., 415 U. S. 322 (1974); id., at 327 (STEWART, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part).

34 As we have had occasion to state: "Unions have a legitimate and substantial interest in continuing organizational efforts after recognition. Whether the goal is merely to strengthen or preserve the union's majority, or is to achieve 100% employee membership-a particularly substantial union concern where union security agreements are not permitted, as they are not here ...—these organizing efforts are equally entitled to the

Appendix to opinion of the Court

437 U.S.

stances, we hold that the Board did not err in applying the Republic Aviation rule to the facts of this case. The judgment of the Court of Appeals therefore is

Affirmed.

APPENDIX TO OPINION OF THE COURT

NEWS BULLETIN TO LOCAL 801 MEMBERS
FROM BOYD YOUNG-PRESIDENT
WE NEED YOU

As a member, we need you to help build the Union through your support and understanding. Too often members become disinterested and look upon their Union as being something separate from themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth.

This Union or any Union will only be as good as the members make it. The policies and practices of this Union are made by the membership—the active membership. If this Union has ever missed its target it may be because not enough members made their views known where the final decisions are made The Union Meeting.

It would be impossible to satisfy everyone with the decisions that are made but the active member has the opportunity to bring the majority around to his way of thinking. This is how a democratic organization works and it's the best system around.

Through participation you can make your voice felt not only in this Local but throughout the International Union. A PHONY LABEL-"right to work"

Wages are determined at the bargaining table and the stronger the Union, the better the opportunity for improvements. The "right to work” law is simply an attempt to weaken the strength of Unions. The misleading title of

Letter Carriers v. Austin, 418 U. S. 264, 279

protection of $7...." (1974).

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »