Shaw’s Supermarkets, Inc. v. NLRB

884 F.2d 34 (1st Cir. 1989)


Employees have the right to 'self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing ...' Employers may not 'interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of' those rights. In the midst of a union representation campaign, and five days before the election, Charles Wyatt, P's vice president for distribution, held three meetings with three different groups of employees. Wyatt said that if a union won 'the employees would be guaranteed minimum wages and workmen's comp and that's where our collective bargaining process would begin.' He made the same statement to the other two groups of employees. Wyatt also told all the employees that 'typically the art of collective bargaining is a give and take process and that ... we would start with minimum wages and workmen's comp and build from that point.' Wyatt referred to a union as a 'third party.' He also said that 'the first contract is generally the toughest or hardest to negotiate ... and that generally, it could take up to a year.' Wyatt's audience contained both full-time employees, then earning up to $11.70 an hour, and part-time employees, then earning about $5.00 an hour; the federal minimum wage at that time was $3.55 an hour. The NLRB found that P violated the NLRA because the statements were a 'threat of reprisal' against collective organizing. P filed this dispute in court over the findings.