Labor Board Says Secondary Picketing Not Protected
A three-member panel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has held that a group of subcontracted janitors in San Francisco were justifiably fired after engaging in secondary picketing at the building where they worked, according to an article on the Lexology website.
The board ruled the employees engaged in conduct unprotected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when they urged the building’s tenants to help improve the janitors’ working conditions.
The janitors, who worked for Ortiz Janitorial Services (OJS), had a contract with Preferred Building Services Inc. In fall of 2014, building management company Harvest Properties contracted with Preferred to service one of Harvest’s buildings. Preferred subcontracted the work to Ortiz Janitorial Services.
Three OJS janitors complained to the San Francisco Living Wage Coalition (SFLWC) about low wages, heavy working conditions and sexually inappropriate statements by the OJS owner. The janitors later met with union officials and agreed to participate in a picket on Oct. 29, 2014.
OJS ultimately terminated the picketers. The union filed an unfair labor practice charge against OJS and Preferred claiming various unfair practices.
OJS and Preferred argued that the employees lost the protection of the National Labor Relations Act because they engaged in picketing with a secondary object. They argued that the demonstrations had an unlawful secondary object of pressuring Harvest building tenants to force building management to terminate its contract with Preferred, even though the employees’ dispute was solely with OJS.
An administrative Law Judge agreed with the union, and ruling the demonstrations were not unlawful secondary picketing. The NLRB reversed the judge's decision and dismissed the complaint in its entirety, finding merit to the affirmative defense raised by OJS and Preferred.
Read the full article.
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