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National Labor Relations Board v. Colony Printing and Labeling Inc.

decided: June 15, 1981.

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, PETITIONER, V. COLONY PRINTING AND LABELING, INC., RESPONDENT .


On Application for Enforcement of an Order of the National Labor Relations Board.

Before Swygert and Cummings, Circuit Judges, and Jameson, Senior District Judge.*fn*

Author: Swygert

The National Labor Relations Board petitions for enforcement of its order finding respondent Colony Printing and Labeling, Inc. in violation of section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C. ยง 158(a) (1). Because we conclude that substantial evidence supports the Board's conclusions, we grant enforcement.

I

In response to an organizational campaign initiated by the Muncie Printing and Graphic Communications Union No. 126, the Company sent a letter to its employees which read in pertinent part:

... If you sign your name to a union card, you give up the right to talk to us about your hours, your work, your working conditions, your pay, and everything else concerning your future and continued employment. If anyone tries to cause you any trouble at your work, or puts you under any kind of pressure to join a union, you should let the company know of it immediately, and we will promptly stop this illegal and immoral practice.

... Do not sign if you want to continue to speak for yourself, and be your own person....

... When you sign, you give away your right to talk to us about your pay, your benefits, the hours you work, and about your job....

Don't be fooled into signing misleading union cards. It is said that when you sign such a card, no one other than a Union Representative, or a representative of the National Labor Relations Board will ever see this card. This is not the truth. In many instances, the signed card is disclosed to the company by the union, the NLRB, or both of them. Be careful about what you sign don't sign ANYTHING unless you KNOW what you are signing and what it might mean to you, your family, or your fellow employees.

(emphasis in original) That letter provided the basis for the Union's charge. The General Counsel of the NLRB issued a complaint against the Company, and both the General Counsel and the Company filed motions for summary judgment. The Board transferred the proceeding to itself and granted the General Counsel's motion finding that the Company had violated section 8(a)(1) by threatening its employees with the loss of their right to speak directly with management about the terms and conditions of employment; by requesting employees to report efforts of union supporters to persuade them to sign authorization cards; and by threatening employees that the Company would discover the identity of card signers and take reprisals against them.

II

This court has previously held that threatening employees with the loss of their right to speak directly with management if they choose to have a union represent them in collective bargaining is a violation of section 8(a)(1). NLRB v. Graber Mfg. Co., 382 F.2d 990 (7th Cir. 1967); accord, Tipton Electric Co. v. NLRB, 621 F.2d 890 (8th Cir. 1980). Section 9(a) explicitly provides that the selection of a collective bargaining representative does not preclude employees from presenting grievances directly to their employers so long as the bargaining representative is given the opportunity to be present. Here the Company stated that signing a union card meant giving up

the right to talk to us about your hours, your work, your working conditions, your pay and everything else concerning your ...


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