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9th Circuit Affirms Employer’s Right to Express Views on Unionization

The 9th Circuit upheld the National Labor Relations Board’s ruling that our client, the Aladdin Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, did not commit an unfair labor practice when its managers briefly interrupted employees’ conversations to express the employer’s views on unionization.

The Culinary Workers and Bartenders Unions sought to limit an employer’s right to express itself during union campaigns by restricting managers’ ability to interject the employer’s opinions into employees’ conversations occurring on company property. On two occasions, managers observed organizers soliciting signatures from other employees in the employee dining room. In the first situation, after briefly observing the conversation between the organizers and the employees, a manager came to the table where they were sitting, interrupted their conversation, and stated that she "wanted to make sure" the employees had "all the facts" before signing a card. The manager informed them that their signatures were "legal and binding," that the card authorized union dues to come out of their paychecks, and that bringing in the unions would not guarantee better medical insurance. The second occasion was similar, with a manager briefly observing card solicitation activity, interrupting the conversation, and informing the employee that "what she was signing was something like a contract."

The unions claimed that the managers’ interruption and interjection of the employer’s opinions violated the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRB found no violation of law. The unions appealed. The 9th Circuit rebuffed the Unions’ attempt to change the law, finding that the NLRB rationally concluded that the "brief, spontaneous interruptions" of the employees’ conversations by the managers were not out of the ordinary and not coercive. 

Joint Executive Board of Las Vegas v. NLRB, 515 F.3d 942 (9th Cir. 2008).

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