NLRB Limits Protections For Striking Workers In Consolidated Communications

Author:Mr Christopher Kelleher and John Ayers-Mann
Profession:Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Seyfarth Synopsis: Though the NLRA provides robust protections for striking employees, the Board's decision in Consolidated Communications demonstrates some of the limits of those protections. On October 2, 2018, the NLRB held that inherently dangerous acts calculated to intimidate do not fall within the broad scope of the NLRA's protections.

The National Labor Relations Board, in a recent decision, has provided further guidance on the limits of protections for strike-related activities. In Consolidated Communications, Cases 14-CA-094626, 14-CA-101495 (NLRB Oct. 2, 2018), the Board found that striking employees' use of vehicles to intentionally obstruct non-striking employees traveling on the road was an "inherently dangerous" activity calculated to intimidate non-strikers, and thus forfeited the National Labor Relations Act's protections.

The facts underlying the case arose while the company was engaged in a contentious strike with its union, IBEW Local 702. During the course of the strike, two striking employees, Hudson and Weaver, were traveling on a highway when they spotted and approached a company vehicle driven by two managers. The striking employees drove alongside each other in front of the company truck in order to prevent it from passing. After some time, a queue of vehicles grew behind one of the blocking employees, who then decided to transition into the lane in front of the company truck to allow cars to pass. The company truck attempted to pass as well, but Hudson returned to the left lane to intentionally block its path. As a result, one of the managers driving the truck filed a complaint and Hudson was fired for...

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