Important labor law issues left undecided by US Supreme Court.
Surprise, folks. The US Supreme Court this morning issued a one-liner in UNITE HERE v. Mulhall [official text]: “The writ of certiorari is dismissed as improvidently granted.”
That leaves the 11th Circuit’s decision as the final word in the case.
The union and a non-union employer entered into a neutrality agreement, and one of the employees objected. The 11th Circuit held that certain promises by the employer to the union were “things of value” resulting in a violation of Labor Management Relations Act Section 302(a):
- that the employer will remain neutral in respect to the union’s efforts to organize its employees,
- that the union will be given access (for organizing purposes) to nonpublic areas of the employer’s premises, and
- that the union will receive a list of employees’ names and contact information (also for organizing purposes).
A dissent by three Justices gives us a peek into the reasons why the Court decided that it just was not going to decide this case:
- The case possibly was moot because the promises expired before the 11th Circuit made its decision.
- It is possible that Mulhall lacks Article III standing.
The dissenters would have requested the parties to file additional briefs to address those two issues, plus one more – whether somebody like Mulhall has a private right of action under Section 302.