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Policy: Law

Supreme Court to hear case on union/management collusion

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Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins,Labor unions,Judicial Branch,Supreme Court,Labor,Analysis,Law

The nine justices announced this morning they would take up UNITE HERE Local 355 v. Martin Mulhall, a case involving whether a deal struck between union organizers and management violated labor law because it gave the union the private contact information of the employees, among other benefits.

In 2004, UNITE HERE Local 355 and Mardi Gras Gaming reached a deal in which management agreed to hand over the contact information, stay neutral as the union attempted to organize its workers and allow a card check election. In the exchange, the union leaders promised not to back an anti-gambling ballot initiative and to promise not to strike or engage in other activities against the business.

Martin Mulhall, a Mardi Gras Gaming employee, challenged the deal in 2008 with the help of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Fund. They argued that turning over the contact information violated federal labor law because the contact information amounted to a “thing of value” to the union. In essence, they argued the information amounted to a bribe from management to the union. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.

In a statement, Mark Mix, president of the President of the National Right to Work Foundation, said:

We hope the Supreme Court will expand upon the Eleventh Circuit’s landmark ruling and ensure that union organizers can’t cut backroom deals with management. Companies shouldn’t be allowed to turn over employees’ personal information to unscrupulous Big Labor organizers as a negotiating tactic.

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