Sources: National Labor Relations Board (NLRB); Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC)
By Don Marsh
A contentious 3-2 opinion the NLRB released earlier this month finds that union representativesÌ display of banners with messages directed at neutral parties or secondary employers does not violate the National Labor Relations Act. Bannering is a tactic unions across the country use to threaten or coerce targets into hiring unionized contractors, ABC reports.
The NLRB action involves consolidated complaints, dating to 2003, alleging unfair labor practices by United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 1506, with offices in Arizona and southern California. Occupying public Arizona spaces in proximity to job sites or construction ownersÌ existing facilities, Carpenters representatives held banners (3- x 4-ft. high and 15- to 20-ft. long) bearing negative messages aimed at the owners behind one remodeling and two new projects. Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale, Oro Valley Hospital and RA Tempe Corp. saw three general contractors retain four nonunion subcontractors to perform Local 1506 rank & file-grade work. The original complaints were brought by one subcontractor and two owners who, along with Carpenters officials, sought Board opinion as early as March 2004.
The union contended that Oro Valley Hospital concrete contractor, Hardrock Concrete Placement of Phoenix, and three subcontractors handling interior work for the three projects, were not paying wages and benefits up to area standards. Local 1506 representatives exhibited two SHAME ON NORTHWEST MEDICAL CENTER banners near the Tuscon, Ariz., property of Oro Valley Hospital builder Northwest Medical LLC. NLRB records indicate bannering took place at the secondary employer's property, 11 miles from the Oro Valley construction site, but did not occur during actual work periods of Hardrock Concrete or another targeted primary employer, Delta/United Specialties.
Carpenters representatives held a SHAME ON BANNER THUNDERBIRD MEDICAL CENTER sign at the Glendale property where subcontractor Eliason & Knuth was performing interior remodeling. A DONÌT EAT RA SUSHI banner was displayed from a sidewalk near the entrance of the RA Tempe restaurant; Local 1506's target was Enterprise Interiors, an Orange, Calif., subcontractor finishing a new property, RA San Diego, being built by the Benihana National Corp. subsidiary.