Offit Kurman labor and employment attorney Howard Kurman was recently quoted in the WSJ in an article entitled “Union-Employers Deal Challenged.” The article reported on the recently argued Supreme Court case entitled Unite Here Local 355 v. Mulhall. The main issue argued and to be decided by the Supreme Court is whether so-called “neutrality agreements” between unions and companies violate the provisions of a federal labor statute making it an unlawful act for an employer to give a union anything of “value”. Under so-called neutrality agreements it is common for a union to promise not to strike or picket a company it is seeking to organize, in exchange for the promise by the company to, for instance, allow the union access to its premises for purposes of talking with its employees; forego a secret ballot election in favor of a “card-check” by the employer to ascertain support for the union; or obtain the union’s promise not to publicly criticize the company in the media. The question addressed by the Supreme Court is whether employer promises to the Union as described fall within the category of “value”, thus violating the applicable federal statute outlawing such “gifts”.
As Mr. Kurman noted to the WSJ reporter, the decision of the Court, most likely to be announced in the Spring of 2014, will have potentially large implications for unions, like Unite Here, that have utilized neutrality agreements to organize employees without having to resort to regulated secret ballot elections conducted by the National Labor Relations Board.
For information on Neutrality Agreements, please contact Howard Kurman at email@example.com or 410.209.6417. Mr. Kurman is chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Group and regularly counsels clients on all aspects of proactive employment/labor issues.
Offit Kurman Attorneys at Law: Labor & Employment Law Practice Group
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