Copyright (c) 2001 North Carolina Law Review
North Carolina Law Review
NOTE: Are Union-Financed Legal Services Provided Prior to a Representation Election an Impermissible Grant of Benefit?: An Analysis of Nestle, Novotel, and Freund
79 N.C.L. Rev. 551
Employees commonly decide whether to be represented by labor unions through elections conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the "Board"). 1 Campaigns leading up to the elections usually involve attempts to influence employees to vote for or against the union, and in many campaigns, unions and employers each spend considerable resources in an attempt to achieve favorable election results. 2 In reviewing the validity of an election, the Board and reviewing courts 3 closely examine the conduct of the employer, employees, and unions that occurred during the "critical period" - the time between the election request and the vote itself - to determine whether any acts improperly influenced employees in the exercise of their freedom to vote. 4
The Board and the courts have drawn a line between permissible and impermissible goods and services that an employer or labor organization may provide to employees during the critical period. 5 This distinction ensures that employee votes are "governed only by consideration of the advantages and disadvantages of unionization ... and not by any extraneous inducements of pecuniary value." 6 The legitimacy of one type of pre-election activity, however, divides the Board and reviewing courts: union funding of legal services for employees who file work-related lawsuits during the pre-election period. 7
This Note reviews the case law on pre-election grants of benefits 8 and employees' constitutional and statutory rights to receive union advice and support. 9 The Note then discusses Board and court ...
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