Matter of Int’l Bhd. Teamsters, Local 391 and Barry Sawyers

Section 8(b)(1)(A) of the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) prohibits a labor organization or its agents from the restraint or coercion of  employees in exercising their protected rights—including the right to access the processes of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  A local union violated the LMRA when its business agent—in reference to a nonmember employee who had filed a charge with the NLRB—told a group of employees that “the fucking scab needs to be stopped.”  According to the LMRA, if a reasonable listener could conclude that a union agent, regardless of intent, is urging employees to prevent a nonmember from exercising a protected right, Section 8(b)(1)(A) has been violated.  The NLRB found the use of the derogatory term added a hostile edge to his statement, and therefore constituted coercion. Matter of Int’l Bhd. Teamsters, Local 391 and Barry Sawyers, 357 N.L.R.B. No. 187 (Jan. 3, 2012).  See also Michael J. Friedman, Wrestling the Giant Squid: The Independence of the Duty of Fair Representation Claim, 36 Wayne L. Rev. 1237, 1241 (1990); Summary of NLRB Decisions for Week of January 3-6, 2012, NLRB (last accessed Mar. 17, 2012), available at

(Development Authored by Colten Hall)