Contract Allowed Union to Invade Sales Floor

By Patrick Scully

In Fred Meyer Stores, Inc., 359 NLRB No. 34 (December 13, 2012), the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) again demonstrated its willingness to tell an employer and a union what their collective bargaining agreement means and, in so doing, take the side of a Union that had blitzed the employer’s retail store with 8 union representatives.  In short, the Board found that the parties had a “past practice” of allowing one or two union representatives to visit employees on the sales floor for “a minute or two.”  However, because the Board found there was NO “past practice” regarding how many union agents could visit the store, the employer could not lawfully react in response to 8 agents invading the sales floor at one time.  Because the employer had agreed to a visitation clause in the collective bargaining agreement, the employer could not treat the 6 additional Union representatives as trespassers.  The Board frequently notes that collective bargaining agreements promote “labor peace”.  In this case, not so much.

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