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Does a Meeting with a Supervisor Interfere with Employee Free Choice?

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In this case, meeting with a supervisor did not interfere with employee free choice. There was not a National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) violation. According to Budd (2013, Page 204), “the key legal standard for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) representation elections is therefore employee free choice. Campaigning by employers and unions is permitted by the NLRA’s employer’s free speech provision”. Employers have the right to communicate with employees, this can be in the form of a letter, an email or employers may have meetings with employees to share information and their opinions with employees.

These meetings are known as captive audience meetings, “a group meeting held in the workplace during working hours in which employees are forced to listen to management’s antiunion and pro-company presentations (captive audience speeches). Such meetings are legal as long as they are not within 24 hours of the election” (Budd, 2013, page 207). If the case stated that the meetings, were held within 24 hours of the election or were aggressive in nature and the employer made threats or promises in the meetings, then there may be a NLRA violation. The employer did not use tactics that restricted the employees’ free choice. The election should not be ruled invalid. The size of the group and the percentage of the of voters involved does not matter.

According to Budd (2013), the NLRB evaluates election conduct using its laboratory conditions doctrine, which states that in election proceedings, it is the NLRB’s purpose to provide a laboratory in which an experiment may be conducted, under conditions as nearly ideal as possible, to determine the uninhibited desires of the employees. Under this doctrine, according to Budd (2013, page 205), “the actions of a third party, individuals not under the direction of the employer or the union, such as individual employees, the mayor or chief of police, or business and labor union leaders from other companies and unions—cannot be unfair labor practices but nevertheless can negatively impact laboratory conditions.

Community activity can definitely interfere with laboratory conditions and affect the outcome of an election. In this case the election should be ruled invalid. The appropriate remedy, is to provide clear facts to the employees that they employer did not place the advertisement and hold another election. Monarch Rubber does not have responsibility for the advertisement. It does matter if they had placed the ad, by doing so Monarch Rubber would have violated laws of the NLR Act. Telling employees that they will lose their job is a violation and it is also a violation to advertise within 24 hours of an election.

Budd, J. (2013). Labor relations: Striking a balance (4th ed.). Boston, Mass.: McGraw-Hill.

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