Pennsylvania Local’s Videotaping is ULP

The Nat’l Labor Relations Bd. ruled 2-1 Sept. 13 that the United Bhd. of Carpenters’s Metro. Reg’l Council of Philadelphia committed unfair labor practices by videotaping and photographing employees of a nonunion contractor as they crossed a picket line to renovate an apartment complex in 1999. Reversing an admin. law judge’s ruling, NLRB chairman Peter J. Hurtgen and member John C. Truesdale found that UBC lacked any legitimate reason for the daily picture-taking, which in two incidents was done in a provocative and confrontational manner. The majority also took into account that the union simultaneously used loudspeakers, at excessively high noise levels, to protest nonunion contractor Smucker Co.’s presence at the site. The broadcasting later was enjoined by a federal judge.

Dissenting, member Dennis P. Walsh agreed with the ALJ that the videotaping and photographing did not involve any element of restraint or coercion. He also found that the broadcasts were not linked to the picture-taking activity.

Separately, a different majority of Truesdale and Walsh agreed with the ALJ that UBC did not commit a violation by picketing a neutral gate, not used by Smucker employees, for five seconds on the day the gate system was established. Dissenting, Hurtgen asserted that “the brevity of the proscribed conduct does not render it lawful” and that, as one of a series of violations by the union, it should not be dismissed “simply because it is brief in duration.”  [BNA 9/17/01]

“Prosecute the hell out of labor union corruption.”
– Grover Norquist, President of Am. for Tax Reform responding to a question about what the Bush Admin.’s labor policy should be. [Am. Prospect 4/9/01]