Friday, September 29, 2023
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Plant Owners Violated Labor Law, Court Rules

(CN) - The owners of a Wisconsin paper and film plant illegally suppressed union organizing activity by barring employees from distributing flyers in the parking lot or posting flyers on a company bulletin board, the 7th Circuit ruled.

Loparex LLC, a specialty paper and film maker, pushed back when a handful of the company's 200 employees launched a unionizing campaign in response to more restrictive company policies.

The National Labor Relations Board upheld an administrative law judge's decision that the company violated labor law in several ways, including restricting the distribution of pro-union flyers.

The Chicago-based 7th Circuit upheld an order requiring Loparex to stop its anti-organizing actions and correct any past violations.

The bulletin board restriction had been put in place after employees posted pro-union flyers at work. The appeals court agreed that the policy was "facially neutral," but said it had been motivated by anti-union sentiment.

Similarly, the ban on flyer distribution in the company parking lot and next to the time clock violated labor law, the court ruled.

The court also disagreed with Loparex's assertion that shift leaders were barred from union activity because they qualified as supervisors.

Judge Diane Wood pointed out that the shift leaders lacked disciplinary authority or the ability to independently assign work.

The appeals court ruled to enforce the board's order.

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