The Roundy’s supermarket chain faces a unique situation. Union members are handing out leaflets in front of stores, but they’re not disgruntled Roundy’s employees. They’re not even trying to organize Roundy’s employees.
They’re members of a carpenters’ union that is protesting Roundy’s use of a nonunion contractor to renovate one of its stores. The literature they’re handing out asks customers to shop elsewhere.
Now the grocery chain has asked the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to intervene. It says that since the union isn’t trying to organize Roundy’s employees and doesn’t represent them, storecan legally bar the demonstrators from the grocer’s property.
The NLRB will have to decide between two competing principles. The Supreme Court has ruled that businesses may exclude certain people from their property as long they don’t do so in a discriminatory fashion. On the other hand, the National Labor Relations Act prohibits employers from unfairly thwarting organizing efforts.
The NLRB invited everyone concerned to file briefs in the case before it makes its decision.