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Portland's Open-Shop Contractors Complain Of Union Intimidation

8.25.11

Richard Meneghello, a partner in the Portland office, was quoted in the August 25 Daily Journal of Commerce article "Portland's Open-Shop Contractors Complain Of Union Intimidation." The article noted that with fewer contracts available in the construction industry, competition between union and non-union companies has heated up. The Journal reports that some nonunion contractors are claiming that union representatives' behavior often feels invasive and intimating. Union representatives deny the allegations, and counter that their actions are completely legal. Rich said: "I will say that just because a union official has a letter that references a federal law, doesn't give them the right to do anything they want. But at the same time, in my experience, these union folks are the best at getting right up to the legal-illegal line and not crossing it." Unions have a wide gray area regarding steps they can take under the National Labor Relations Act if they think contractors have not provided accurate information about project sites. But those steps, including following company employees, must be conducted in a reasonable manner. Nonunion companies can file harassment or loitering complaints against unions if they believe that the law has been violated.

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