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The company operates about 700 convenience stores. A sales assistant at one of the company's stores was murdered while on duty.
The company operates about 700 convenience stores. A sales assistant at one of the company’s stores was murdered while on duty. The murder was widely publicized, and employees complained of inadequate security measures. As a result of the murder, 15 sales assistants telephoned the union requesting a union organization effort. The union sent representatives to 60 stores in the area where the murder had occurred and left union authorization cards. Two days later the company notified the union that an injunction had been issued during a prior union campaign prohibiting solicitation on company property.
The next workday, the company had a meeting with the store managers in the area and talked about the need to improve security. The company officials also discussed the union’s organization activities and reminded the managers of the “no solicitation” policy and stated that a union would not necessarily do the employees any good. Later that week, the company had an unprecedented meeting for all sales assistants. Approximately 200 sales assistants attended and were paid for their time. The company officials told the employees that they did not need a union and that the employees from the union could retrieve their authorization cards. The employees were asked to voice their complaints and the employees listed the following: getting less than 40 hours work per week; not having breaks; not being paid for overtime work; working alone at night; and poor lighting at the stores.
The next day the company sent a memo to all regional personnel directing that sales assistants should work a 40-hour workweek; canopy lights were installed at all the stores; a policy was adopted that no one would be required to work alone at night; and sales assistants began receiving wages for after-hours overtime work. The company posted “no solicitation” signs in all stores and directed that those signs be enforced; if the employees did not enforce the signs, they would lose their jobs. Later that month the company held further meetings with sales assistants, who again were paid for their time. They asked to select committee representatives to meet with management to discuss their complaints. Management officials left the room while the employees selected their representatives. The company made a list of the ten most frequently mentioned items from the employees’ recommended subjects for the committee to discuss.
Meanwhile, the union filed a representation petition with the NLRB seeking an election in a unit of all Summitt, Ohio sales assistants. The company president told the managers to tell the sales assistants that if they joined the union, the company would close those stores. The first meeting of the Employee Management Committee was held and the ten priority items were listed, granting employees a new vacation policy, improved health-care benefits, sick days, change in holiday hours for pay, recognition of seniority ranks, and improved security systems. Not long after that, the company sent an additional memo around announcing other improvements in life, major medical, and accident insurance plans, in addition to death and family benefits and a revised disciplinary appeal system.
If the union wanted to file a complaint with the NLRB, what “unfair labor practice” claim(s) could it make? What defenses would the company utilize? Use the specific terms and concepts covered in this course to support your analysis.