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affirmed the Administrative Law Judge's rulings, findings, and conclusions, and adopted his recommended order. 215 N. L. R. B. 271 (1974).

The Court of Appeals enforced the order. 550 F. 2d 198 (CA5 1977). It rejected petitioner's argument that the "mutual aid or protection” clause of 7 protects only concerted activity by employees that is directed at conditions that their employer has the authority or power to change or control. Without expressing an opinion as to the full range of $ 7 rights “when exercised off the employer's property,” 550 F. 2d, at 202, the court purported to balance those rights against the employer's property rights and 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 ... Id., at 203 (emphasis in original). The court further held that all of the material in the newsletter here met this test. Id., at 204–205.

Because of apparent differences among the Courts of Appeals as to the scope of rights protected by the “mutual aid or protection" clause of 7, see n. 17, infra, we granted certiorari. 434 U. S. 1045 (1978). We affirm.

not rely on this rule in refusing to allow distribution of the newsletter, see id., at 272 n. 4, and its validity was not an issue in the Court of Appeals, see 550 F. 2d 198, 201 n. 3 (CA5 1977). That rule is not before us. See Brief for Petitioner 5 n. 2.

• The court went on to disapprove the alternative ground for the Board's decision, see n. 8, supra, stating that “the presence of some § 7 protected material will not rescue that which is significantly not protected.” 550 F. 2d, at 205. We do not find it necessary to express an opinion as to the correctness of this statement. In an opinion denying rehearing and rehearing en banc, the court reaffirmed that it had balanced the employer's and employees' rights, and it deleted two references in its first opinion to the First Amendment. 556 F. 2d 1280 (CA5 1977).

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II Two distinct questions are presented. The first is whether, apart from the location of the activity, distribution of the newsletter is the kind of concerted activity that is protected from employer interference by $$ 7 and 8 (a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act. If it is, then the second question is whether the fact that the activity takes place on petitioner's property gives rise to a countervailing interest that outweighs the exercise of $ 7 rights in that location. See Hudgens v. NLRB, 424 U. S. 507, 521–523 (1976); Central Hardware Co. v. NLRB, 407 U. S. 539, 542-545 (1972); NLRB v. Babcock & Wilcox Co., 351 U. S. 105, 112 (1956); Republic Aviation Corp. v. NLRB, 324 U. S. 793, 797–798 (1945). We address these questions in turn.


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Section 7 provides that “[e]mployees shall have the right ... to engage in ... concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection ... Petitioner contends that the activity here is not within the "mutual aid or protection” language because it does not relate to a "specific dispute” between employees and their own employer “over an issue which the employer has the right or power to affect.” Brief for Petitioner 13. In support of its position, petitioner asserts that the term "employees" in $ 7 refers only to employees of a particular employer, so that only activity by employees on behalf of themselves or other em

10 Section 7, as amended, as set forth in 29 U. S. C. $ 157, states in full:

"Employees shall have the right to self-organize, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all of such activities except to the extent that such right may be affected by an agreement requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment as authorized in section 158 (a) (3) of this title [29]."

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ployees of the same employer is protected. Id., at 18, 24. Petitioner also argues that the term "collective bargaining” in § 7 "indicates a direct bargaining relationship whereas ‘other mutual aid or protection' must refer to activities of a similar nature ....Id., at 24. Thus, in petitioner's view, under 8 7 "the employee is only protected for activity within the scope of the employment relationship.” Id., at 13. Petitioner rejects the idea that $7 might protect any activity that could be characterized as “political,” and suggests that the discharge of an employee who engages in any such activity would not violate the Act.11

We believe that petitioner misconceives the reach of the “mutual aid or protection" clause. The "employees” who may engage in concerted activities for “mutual aid or protection” are defined by $ 2 (3) of the Act, 29 U. S. C. § 152 (3), to "include any employee, and shall not be limited to the employees of a particular employer, unless this subchapter explicitly states otherwise .... This definition was intended to protect employees when they engage in otherwise proper concerted activities in support of employees of employers other than their own." In recognition of this intent, the Board and the courts long have held that the “mutual aid or protection" clause encompasses such activity. Petitioner's

11 See Tr. of Oral Arg. 17:

"QUESTION: [Suppose the] Union is banding together and they all want to oppose right-to-work laws, and they pass out literature out on the public street; and the employer says, 'I just don't like you fellows getting into this kind of business, I'm going to fire you.'

“Now, is that an unfair labor practice?

"MR. ABERCROMBIE: Your Honor, we would submit that it was not, that political activity is not protected under Section 7."

12 See Phelps Dodge Corp. v. NLRB, 313 U. S. 177, 191-192 (1941); S. Rep. No. 573, 74th Cong., 1st Sess., 6 (1935); H. R. Rep. No. 1147, 74th Cong., 1st Sess., 9–10 (1935).

13 E. g., Fort Wayne Corrugated Paper Co. v. NLRB, 111 F.2d 869, 874 (CA7 1940), enf'g Cayuga Linen & Cotten Mills, Inc., 11 N. L. R. B. 1,

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argument on this point ignores the language of the Act and its settled construction.

We also find no warrant for petitioner's view that employees 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. The 74th Congress knew well enough that labor's cause often is advanced on fronts other than collective bargaining and grievance settlement within the immediate employment context. It recognized this fact by choosing, as the language of § 7 makes clear, to protect concerted activities for the somewhat broader purpose of “mutual aid or protection” as well as for the narrower purposes of "self-organization" and "collective bargaining." Thus, it has been held that the "mutual aid or

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4-5 (1939) (right to assist in organizing another employer's employees); NLRB v. J. G. Boswell Co., 136 F. 2d 585, 595 (CA9 1943), enf'g 35 N. L. R. B. 968 (1941) (right to express sympathy for striking employees of another employer); Redwing Carriers, Inc., 137 N. L. R. B. 1545, 1546–1547 (1962), enf'd sub nom. Teamsters v. NLRB, 117 U. S. App. D. C. 84, 325 F. 2d 1011 (1963), cert. denied, 377 U. S. 905 (1964) (right to honor picket line of another employer's employees); NLRB v. Alamo Express Co., 430 F. 2d 1032, 1036 (CA5 1970), cert. denied, 400 U. S. 1021 (1971), enf'g 170 N. L. R. B. 315 (1968) (accord); Washington State Service Employees, 188 N. L. R. B. 957, 959 (1971) (right to demonstrate in support of another employer's employees); Yellow Cab, Inc., 210 N. L. R. B. 568, 569 (1974) (right to distribute literature in support of another employer's employees). We express no opinion, however, as to the correctness of the particular balance struck between employees' exercise of 7 rights and employers' legitimate interests in any of the above-cited cases.

14 Congress modeled the language of $ 7 after that found in § 2 of the Norris-LaGuardia Act, 47 Stat. 70, 29 U.S. C. $ 102, which declares that it is the public policy of the United States that workers "shall be free from the interference, restraint, or coercion of employers of labor, or their agents, in the designation of ... representatives or in self-organization or in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection. See S. Rep. No. 573, 74th Cong., 1st

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protection" clause protects employees from retaliation by their employers when they seek to improve working conditions through resort to administrative and judicial forums,16 and that employees' appeals to legislators to protect their interests as employees are within the scope of this clause. 16 To hold that activity of this nature is entirely unprotected—irrespective of location or the means employed—would leave employees

Sess., 9 (1935); H. R. Rep. No. 1147, 74th Cong., 1st Sess., 15 (1935). This section of the Norris-LaGuardia Act expresses Congress' recognition of the “right of wage earners to organize and to act jointly in questions

ffecting wages, conditions of labor, and the welfare of labor generally ...." S. Rep. No. 163, 72d Cong., 1st Sess., 9 (1932) (emphasis supplied). Similar language is found in $ 7 (a)(1) of the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933, 48 Stat. 198; $1 of the National Labor Relations Act, 49 Stat. 449, 29 U. S. C. $ 151 (declaration of policy); and $2 (a) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, 73 Stat. 519, 29 U.S.C. $ 401 (a) (findings, purposes, and policy).

16 E. g., Wols Mfg. Co., 137 N. L. R. B. 1317 (1962), enf'd, 116 U. 8. App. D. C. 140, 321 F.2d 753, cert. denied, 375 U. S. 923 (1963); Socony Mobil Oil Co., 153 N. L. R. B. 1244 (1965), enf'd, 357 F.2d 662 (CA2 1966); Altet Ready Mixed Concrete Corp. v. NLRB, 542 F. 2d 295, 297 (CA5 1976), enf'g 223 N. L. R. B. 696; Wray Electric Contracting, Inc., 210 N. L. R. B. 757 (1974); Alleluia Cushion Co., 221 N. L. R. B. 999 (1975); King Soopers, Inc., 222 N. L. R. B. 1011 (1976); Triangle Tool & Engineering, Inc., 226 N. L. R. B. 1354 (1976). We do not address here the question of what may constitute "concerted” activities in this context. Cf. NLRB v. Weingarten, Inc., 420 U. S. 251, 260-261 (1975).

16 Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp. v. NLRB, 114 F. 2d 930, 937 (CA1 1940), dismissed on motion of petitioner, 312 U. S. 710 (1941), enf'g 11 N. L. R. B. 105 (1939); NLRB v. Peter Cailler Kohler Swiss Chocolates Co., 130 F. 2d 503, 506 (CA2 1942) (dicta), enf'g 33 N. L. R. B. 1170 (1941); Kaiser Engineers v. NLRB, 538 F. 2d 1379, 1384–1385 (CA9 1976), enf'g 213 N. L. R. B. 752 (1974); cf. Machinists v. Street, 367 U. S. 740, 800-801, 812-816 (1961) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting). Other laws, however, may place limits on concerted activity in the legislative and political spheres. See United States v. CIO, 335 U. S. 106 (1948); United States v. Auto Workers, 352 U. S. 567 (1957); Street, supra; Railway Clerks v. Allen, 373 U. S. 113 (1963); Pipefitters v. United States, 407 U.S.385 (1972); Abood v. Detroit Bd. of Education., 431 U. 8. 209 (1977).

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