Subject: HR Flash Report: New NLRB Decision Reinterprets Union Access on Employer Property

New NLRB Decision Reinterprets Union Access on Employer Property

Tuesday, July 9, 2019
The National Labor Relations Board reversed its interpretation of the National Labor Relations Act and stated that employers may now deny access to union representatives in areas within the company that are generally open to the public, such as cafeterias and lobbies. This reverses a 38-year policy that had allowed union reps access to employees in these public or public-like areas.

The NLRB decision is based on a case that involved a Pennsylvania hospital where the Service Employees International Union was talking to employees who were eating in the cafeteria about organizing. The SEIU was also displaying union flyers and pins. Relying on a non-solicitation policy that is enforced, the hospital security staff escorted the SEIU representatives from the building after they refused to leave upon request. The union brought a case that has worked its way to the NLRB, which issued its decision in June.

Employers may now want to revisit policies that allowed union representatives into public or public-like spaces. Note that the rules for employees, however, remains the same. 1) employers may continue to restrict employees from distributing union materials during working time and in working areas; 2) non-solicitation policies must be applied uniformly, so if solicitation is banned, that must be enforced in union and non-union situations; 3) the “remote” rule continues to apply—if an employer is so remote as to make communication between the union and the employees unreasonable, the union may participate in organizing activity on the employer’s property.

For questions about this or other HR issues, please contact Adriane Harrison, VP of Human Relations at 800-910-4283 or