Employment Law Report

Supreme Court Dismisses Case Involving Employer Neutrality Agreement

By Edwin S. Hopson

U.S. Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. ...
U.S. Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

On December 10, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order in UNITE HERE Local 355 v. Mulhall, 571 U.S. ___ (2013), No. 12-99, dismissing the writ of certiorari as improvidently granted.  The case involved the question of whether an employer who agrees with a union (1) to remain neutral should the union seek to organize its employees, (2) that the union will be given access (for organizing purposes) to nonpublic areas of the company’s premises, and (3) that the union will receive a list of employees’ names and contact information, is in violation of the Labor Management Relations Act.  This statute makes it a crime for an employer “to pay, lend, or deliver, or agree to pay, lend, or deliver, any money or other thing of value” to a union that represents or seeks to represent the company’s employees.  29 U.S.C. §186(a)(2).  The lower court, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, had held that such commitments by the company violated the LMRA.

The Supreme Court had already received briefs in the case and had heard oral argument before it decided to dismiss the case without deciding it.  Three Justices, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan, dissented and argued that the Court should have kept the case and requested additional briefing on several issues.