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Drumming Wasn’t Union Activity, NY Court Rules

(CN) - A union member's drumming on a plastic container was a private nuisance and did not interfere with picketing or labor negotiations at the Empire State Building, a New York appeals court ruled.

Michael Fishman led an effort to unionize security workers at the building. Union members distributed leaflets while another member did the drumming.

The National Labor Relations Board found that the action was protected union activity. The building managers then sued the union to stop the drumming.

The trial court ruled in favor of the managers, but an appellate division reversed, citing the drumming as part of the protected union activity.

On appeal, Judge Pigott sided with the trial court, stating that the drumming and the union activities can be ruled on separately.

"There is no risk that the trial court's adjudication of the nuisance action will result in a significant risk of misrepresentation of federal labor law," Pigott ruled.

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