Central Hardware Company v. National Labor Relations Board 8212 223, No. 70

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Citation33 L.Ed.2d 122,407 U.S. 539,92 S.Ct. 2238
Docket NumberNo. 70
PartiesCENTRAL HARDWARE COMPANY, Petitioner, v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD et al. —223
Decision Date22 June 1972

407 U.S. 539
92 S.Ct. 2238
33 L.Ed.2d 122
CENTRAL HARDWARE COMPANY, Petitioner,

v.

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD et al.

No. 70—223.
Argued April 18, 1972.
Decided June 22, 1972. Syllabus Petitioner had a rule against solicitational activities in its stores and parking lots. The parking lots are appurtenant to petitioner's free-standing stores and do not serve other retail establishments. Union organizers used petitioner's parking lots to solicit petitioner's employees to join the union, and petitioner ordered the organizers off its property. The union filed unfair labor practice charges against petitioner. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) held that enforcement of petitioner's no-solicitation rule, which it found was overly broad, violated § 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act, which proscribes interference with employees' § 7 organizational rights. The NLRB concluded that the character and use of the lots distinguished the case from N.L.R.B. v. Babcock & Wilcox Co., 351 U.S. 105, 76 S.Ct. 679, 100 L.Ed. 975, which required a 'yielding' of the employer's property rights in the context of an organizational campaign only 'when the inaccessibility of employees makes ineffective the reasonable attempts by nonemployees to communicate with them through the usual channels . . .. Id., at 112, 76 S.Ct., at 684. Instead, the NLRB held applicable Amalgamated Food Employees v. Logan Valley Plaza, 391 U.S. 308, 88 S.Ct. 1601, 20 L.Ed.2d 603, where peaceful picketing by union agents on a parking lot within a shopping center was held, under the circumstances existing, to be within the protection of the First Amendment. The Court of Appeals, agreeing, ordered enforcement of the NLRB's order. Held: Logan Valley, decided on constitutional grounds, is not applicable to this § 7 case, which the Court of Appeals should now reconsider in the light of Babcock. Pp. 542—548. 439 F.2d 1321, vacated and remanded. Ronald L. Aylward, Keith E. Mattern, St. Louis, Mo., for petitioner.

Page 540 Norton J. Come, Washington, D.C., for respondent, N.L.R.B. Bernard Dunau, Washington, D.C., for respondent Retail Clerk's Union 725, Retail Clerks International, AFL—CIO. djQ Mr. Justice POWELL delivered the opinion of the Court. Petitioner, Central Hardware Co. (Central), owns and operates two retail hardware stores in Indianapolis, Indiana. Each store is housed in a large building, containing 70,000 square feet of floor space, and housing no other retail establishments. The stores are surrounded on three sides by ample parking facilities, accommodating approximately 350 automobiles. The parking lots are owned by Central, and are maintained solely for the use of Central's customers and employees. While there are other retail establishments in the vicinity of Central's stores, these establishments are not a part of a shopping center complex, and they maintain their own separate parking lots. Approximately a week before Central opened its stores, the Retail Clerks Union, Local 725, Retail Clerks International Association, AFL—CIO (the Union), began an organization campaign at both stores. The campaign consisted primarily of solicitation by nonemployee Union

Page 541 organizers on Central's parking lots. The nonemployee organizers confronted Central's employees in the parking lots and sought to persuade them to sign cards authorizing the Union to represent them in an appropriate bargaining unit. As a part of the organization campaign, an 'undercover agent for the Union' was infiltrated into the employ of Central, receiving full-time salary from both the Union and the company. This agent solicited employees to join the Union, and obtained a list of the employees of the two stores which was about 80% complete. Central had a no-solicitation rule which it enforced against all solicitational activities in its stores and on its parking lots. A number of employees complained to Central's local management that they were being harassed by the organizers, and these complaints were forwarded to Central's corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. The St. Louis officials directed the Indianapolis management to enforce the nonemployee no-solicitation rule and keep all Union organizers off the company premises, including the parking lots. Although most of the nonemployee Union organizers had either left Indianapolis or ceased work on the Central organization campaign, the Indianapolis management had occasion to assert the nonemployee no-solicitation rule on several occasions. One arrest was made when a field organizer for the Union was confronted by the manager of one of the stores on its parking lot, and refused to leave after being requested to do so. The field organizer asserted that he was a 'customer' and insisted upon entering the store. The police were called, and when the organizer persisted in his refusal to leave, he was arrested. Shortly after Central received complaints from its employees as to harassment by the organizers, Central filed unfair labor practice charges against the Union. The

Page 542 Union subsequently filed unfair labor practice charges against Central. After an investigation, the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (the Board) dismissed Central's charges against the Union, and issued a complaint against Central on the Union's charges. The Board held that Central's nonemployee no-solicitation rule was overly broad, and that its enforcement violated § 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act. The Board reasoned that the character and use of Central's parking lots distinguished the case from N.L.R.B. v. Babcock & Wilcox Co., 351 U.S. 105, 76 S.Ct. 679, 100 L.Ed. 975 (1956), and brought it within the principle of Amalgamated Food Employees Union Local 590 v. Logan Valley Plaza, Inc., 391 U.S. 308, 88 S.Ct. 1601, 20 L.Ed.2d 603 (1968). 181 N.L.R.B. 491 (1970). A divided Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit agreed, and ordered enforcement of the Board's order enjoining Central from enforcing any rule prohibiting nonemployee Union organizers from using its parking lots to solicit employees on behalf of the Union. 439 F.2d 1321 (1971). We granted certiorari to consider whether the principle of Logan Valley is applicable to this case. 404 U.S. 1014, 92 S.Ct. 669, 30 L.Ed.2d 661 (1972). We conclude that it is not. I Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, 61 Stat. 140, 29 U.S.C. § 157, guarantees to employees the right to 'selforganization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations.' This guarantee includes both the right of union officials to discuss organization with employees, and the right of employees to discuss organization among themselves.1 Section 8(a)(1) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. § 158(a)(1), makes it an unfair labor practice for an employer 'to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaran-

Page 543 teed' in § 7. But organization rights are not viable in a vacuum; their effectiveness depends in some measure on the ability of employees to learn the advantages and disadvantages of organization from others. Early in the history of the administration of the Act the Board recognized the importance of freedom of communication to the free exercise of organization rights. See Peyton Packing Co., 49 N.L.R.B. 828 (1943), enforced, 142 F.2d 1009 (C.A.5), cert. denied, 323 U.S. 730, 65 S.Ct. 66, 89 L.Ed...

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180 practice notes
  • United Farm Workers of America v. Superior Court, AFL-CI
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • July 28, 1975
    ...to some significant degree the functional attributes of public property devoted to public use.' (Central Hardware Co. v. N.L.R.B. (1971) 407 U.S. 539, 547, 92 S.Ct. 2238, 2243, 33 L.Ed.2d 122.) 2 'Although accommodations between the values protected by these three amendments (First, Fifth a......
  • Sam Andrews' Sons v. Agricultural Labor Relations Bd., AFL-CI
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • November 17, 1988
    ...on the ability of employees to learn the advantages and disadvantages of organization from others." (Central Hardware Co. v. NLRB. (1972) 407 U.S. 539, 543, 92 S.Ct. 2238, 2241, 33 L.Ed.2d 122; see also Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, § 20900, subd. (b).) Therefore, union access to workers is " 'c......
  • Dish Network, LLC and Brett Denney, 27-CA-158916
    • United States
    • National Labor Relations Board
    • March 18, 2021
    ...omitted). [37] Id. at 1622. [38] Beth Israel Hospital v. NLRB, 437 U.S. 483, 491-492 & fn. 9 (1978) (citing Central Hardware Co. v. NLRB, 407 U.S. 539, 542-543 (1972) ("organization rights are not viable in a vacuum .... [e]arly in the history of the administration of the Act the Board reco......
  • Democratic Nat'l Comm. v. Republican Nat'l Comm., No. 09–4615.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • March 8, 2012
    ...As the District Court correctly noted, in this context, the First Amendment applies only to state action. Cent. Hardware Co. v. NLRB, 407 U.S. 539, 547, 92 S.Ct. 2238, 33 L.Ed.2d 122 (1972). Under Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1, 68 S.Ct. 836, 92 L.Ed. 1161 (1948), court enforcement of certa......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
183 cases
  • United Farm Workers of America v. Superior Court, AFL-CI
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • July 28, 1975
    ...to some significant degree the functional attributes of public property devoted to public use.' (Central Hardware Co. v. N.L.R.B. (1971) 407 U.S. 539, 547, 92 S.Ct. 2238, 2243, 33 L.Ed.2d 122.) 2 'Although accommodations between the values protected by these three amendments (First, Fifth a......
  • Sam Andrews' Sons v. Agricultural Labor Relations Bd., AFL-CI
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • November 17, 1988
    ...on the ability of employees to learn the advantages and disadvantages of organization from others." (Central Hardware Co. v. NLRB. (1972) 407 U.S. 539, 543, 92 S.Ct. 2238, 2241, 33 L.Ed.2d 122; see also Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, § 20900, subd. (b).) Therefore, union access to workers is " 'c......
  • Dish Network, LLC and Brett Denney, 27-CA-158916
    • United States
    • National Labor Relations Board
    • March 18, 2021
    ...omitted). [37] Id. at 1622. [38] Beth Israel Hospital v. NLRB, 437 U.S. 483, 491-492 & fn. 9 (1978) (citing Central Hardware Co. v. NLRB, 407 U.S. 539, 542-543 (1972) ("organization rights are not viable in a vacuum .... [e]arly in the history of the administration of the Act the Board reco......
  • Democratic Nat'l Comm. v. Republican Nat'l Comm., No. 09–4615.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • March 8, 2012
    ...As the District Court correctly noted, in this context, the First Amendment applies only to state action. Cent. Hardware Co. v. NLRB, 407 U.S. 539, 547, 92 S.Ct. 2238, 33 L.Ed.2d 122 (1972). Under Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1, 68 S.Ct. 836, 92 L.Ed. 1161 (1948), court enforcement of certa......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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