Traditionally, unions seeking to organize an employer’s workforce will petition the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board) for a secret ballot election in which a company’s employees make their wishes known. Some unions, dissatisfied with the traditional approach, seek alternative methods of workforce organization, such as mandatory employer recognition of unions on the basis of signed authorization cards alone. See “Union Boon and Employer Bane: Employee Free Choice Act Would Represent a Change in Labor Management Relations,” New Jersey Law Journal, Vol. CXCVI, July 2009 (Donovan, Kevin C.).
Other times, a union targeting one employer will seek to exert pressure against a second employer. The goal is to persuade that secondary entity to pressure the primary employer into agreeing to union demands. That pressure may come in the form of the union filing civil lawsuits or taking other legal action against the secondary, forcing it to expend valuable time and resources fending off the litigation. One recent case illustrates what such “secondary” employers can do to fight against the use of litigation as a tool in labor disputes, while another recent case provides a cautionary note to such employers who resort to litigation in their own defense against nontraditional union pressure tactics.
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