Lechmere, Inc. v. NLRB, 502 U.S. 527, 2 (1992)

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528

LECHMERE, INC. v. NLRB

Syllabus

NLRB, 424 U. S. 507. See also Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. Carpenters, 436 U. S. 180. Pp. 531-535. (b) At least as applied to nonemployee union organizers, Jean Country is inconsistent with this Court's past interpretation of 7. Babcock's teaching is straightforward: 7 simply does not protect non-employee union organizers except in the rare case where "the inaccessibility of employees makes ineffective the reasonable attempts by nonemployees to communicate with them through the usual channels." 351 U. S., at 112. It is only when reasonable access to employees is infeasible that it becomes appropriate to balance 7 and private property rights. Pp. 535-538. (c) The facts in this case do not justify application of Babcock's inaccessibility exception. Because Lechmere's employees do not reside on its property, they are presumptively not "beyond the reach" of the union's message. Nor does the fact that they live in a large metropolitan area render them "inaccessible." Because the union failed to establish the existence of any "unique obstacles" that frustrated access to Lechmere's employees, the Board erred in concluding that Lechmere committed an unfair labor practice by barring the nonemployee organizers from its property. Pp. 539-541. 914 F. 2d 313, reversed.

Thomas, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and O'Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, and Souter, JJ., joined. White, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Blackmun, J., joined, post, p. 541. Stevens, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 548.

Robert P. Joy argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs were Keith H. McCown and Benjamin Smith.

Michael R. Dreeben argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief were Solicitor General Starr, Acting Deputy Solicitor General Wright, Norton J. Come, and Linda Sher.*

*Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America et al. by John S. Irving, Stephen A. Bokat, and Robert J. Verdisco; for the Council on Labor Law Equality by Gerard C. Smetana and Michael E. Avakian; for the Food Marketing Institute by Eugene D. Ulterino; for the International Council of Shopping Centers, Inc., by Stephanie McEvily and Edward J. Sack; and for the National Retail Federation by John W. Noble, Jr., and Edward B. Miller. J. William Gagne, George R. Murphy, Peter J. Ford, David Silberman, and Laurence Gold filed a brief for the American Federation of Labor

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