Labor Law–Nonemployee Union Organizers Granted Access to Company Property for Solicitation Purposes–Solo Cup Company and United Papermakers and Paperworkers, AFL-CIO
The principal case emphasizes the general conflict between an employee’s right of self-organization under section 7 of the NLRA and the employer’s right, as a property owner, to control access to his plant premises. Face-to-face contact between employees and trained union organizers at the workplace would undoubtedly be the most effective way for the union to impart organizational information to the employees. But this assumption overlooks the legitimate interests of the employer; to permit organizational activities in all parts of the plant at any time would be unduly destructive of both plant production and discipline and could result in the employer’s underwriting, at least to some extent, the union’s organizational campaign. The courts, pursuant to their duty to balance these conflicting interests, have held that union organizers who are employees may orally solicit in any area of the plant during nonworking periods and may distribute literature in nonworking areas during nonworking hours. The Supreme Court’s decision in NLRB v. Babcock &Wilcox Co., however, made it clear that nonemployee organizers do not enjoy the same rights.