In a recent case called Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters (New Star General Contractors, Inc.), the National Labor Relations Board upheld a fairly common Union street tactic of calling attention to the Union’s dispute with a so-called “primary” employer by displaying a large banner in front of the worksite of a “secondary” employer who happens to be utilizing workers from the “primary” employer. Typically, the dispute between the Union and the “primary” employer is over the “primary” employer’s failure to use Union workers or pay Union-scale wages. By publically advertising its dispute with banners in front of the “secondary” employer, the Union hopes to “shame” the “secondary” employer. The NLRB held that hanging a banner outside in front of the “secondary” employer’s worksite with this clear purpose of simply shaming the “secondary” employer does not constitute what is known as “signal picketing” (sending a signal or inducement to workers at the “secondary” employer to engage in any kind of work stoppage or slowdown), nor does it constitute any kind of an unlawful threat, restraint or coercion against the “secondary” employer. See generally Southwest Reg’l Council of Carpenters (New Star Gen. Contractors, Inc.), 356 N.L.R.B. No. 88, 2/3/11 (released 2/4/11) (New Star). The NLRB’s decision appears consistent with a series of decisions in the fall of 2010 in which the Board determined that a stationary display set up by a Union in front of the worksite of a “secondary” employer does not constitute unlawful picketing of the “secondary” employer because a stationary or fixed sign does not include “the element of confrontation.” See e.g. Carpenters & Joiners of America (Eliason & Knuth of Arizona, Inc.), 355 N.L.R.B. No. 159 (2010) (Eliason).
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