Lechmere, Inc. v. NLRB, 502 U.S. 527, 17 (1992)

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

White, J., dissenting

without access, will not permit proper communication with employees. But I cannot believe that the Court in Babcock intended to confine the reach of such general considerations to the single circumstance that the Court now seizes upon. If the Court in Babcock indicated that nonemployee access to a logging camp would be required, it did not say that only in such situations could nonemployee access be permitted. Nor did Babcock require the Board to ignore the substantial difference between the entirely private parking lot of a secluded manufacturing plant and a shopping center lot which is open to the public without substantial limitation. Nor indeed did Babcock indicate that the Board could not consider the fact that employees' residences are scattered throughout a major metropolitan area; Babcock itself relied on the fact that the employees in that case lived in a compact area which made them easily accessible.

Moreover, the Court in Babcock recognized that actual communication with nonemployee organizers, not mere notice that an organizing campaign exists, is necessary to vindicate 7 rights. 351 U. S., at 113. If employees are entitled to learn from others the advantages of self-organization, ibid., it is singularly unpersuasive to suggest that the union has sufficient access for this purpose by being able to hold up signs from a public grassy strip adjacent to the highway leading to the parking lot.

Second, the Court's reading of Babcock is not the reading of that case reflected in later opinions of the Court. We have consistently declined to define the principle of Babcock as a general rule subject to narrow exceptions, and have instead repeatedly reaffirmed that the standard is a neutral and flexible rule of accommodation. In Central Hardware Co. v. NLRB, 407 U. S. 539, 544 (1972), we explicitly stated that the "guiding principle" for adjusting conflicts between 7 rights and property rights enunciated in Babcock is that contained in its neutral "accommodation" language. Hudgens v. NLRB, 424 U. S. 507 (1976), gave this Court the


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