Lechmere, Inc. v. NLRB, 502 U.S. 527, 5 (1992)

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Cite as: 502 U. S. 527 (1992)

Opinion of the Court

Alleging that Lechmere had violated the NLRA by barring the nonemployee organizers from its property, the union filed an unfair labor practice charge with respondent National Labor Relations Board (Board). Applying the criteria set forth by the Board in Fairmont Hotel Co., 282 N. L. R. B. 139 (1986), an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) ruled in the union's favor. Lechmere, Inc., 295 N. L. R. B. 94 (1988). He recommended that Lechmere be ordered, among other things, to cease and desist from barring the union organizers from the parking lot and to post in conspicuous places in the store signs proclaiming in part:

"WE WILL NOT prohibit representatives of Local 919, United Food and Commercial Workers, AFL-CIO ('the Union') or any other labor organization, from distributing union literature to our employees in the parking lot adjacent to our store in Newington, Connecticut, nor will we attempt to cause them to be removed from our parking lot for attempting to do so." Ibid.

The Board affirmed the ALJ's judgment and adopted the recommended order, applying the analysis set forth in its opinion in Jean Country, 291 N. L. R. B. 11 (1988), which had by then replaced the short-lived Fairmont Hotel approach. 295 N. L. R. B. 92 (1989). A divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit denied Lech-mere's petition for review and enforced the Board's order. 914 F. 2d 313 (1990). This Court granted certiorari, 499 U. S. 918 (1991).

II

A

Section 7 of the NLRA provides in relevant part that "[e]mployees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations." 29 U. S. C. 157. Section 8(a)(1) of the Act, in turn, makes it an unfair labor practice for an employer "to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in

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