9th Circuit rules against Idaho anti-union law

In the construction and trades industry unions often engage in “market recovery” or “job targeting” programs, which allow a union company to remain competitive in the job market.  In these programs, the union subsidizes bids of union contractors, thus allowing union contractors to lower their labor costs in order to compete effectively with non-union contractors.  This is necessary to protect the rights of workers under the National Labor Relations Act.

In Idaho, the legislature passed a bill banning the use of such market recovery programs.  Recently, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Idaho anti-union law was unconstitutional.

In Idaho Building and Construction Trades Council, et. al. v. Lawrence Wasden, No. 11-35985 (Sept. 16 2015), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled:

The NLRB has repeatedly held that job targeting programs are actually protected under [Section] 7 of the NLRA. Most recently, the Board reaffirmed its earlier cases by explaining that “the objectives of job targeting programs fall squarely within the ambit of Section 7 of the Act,” which “protects concerted employee activities engaged in ‘for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.'”

This is crucial because without these programs, employees would be deterred from being associated with a union and engaging in collective bargaining or other protected activity under the NLRA.

The Attorney General attempted to argue that the case was not preempted by federal law. In other words, that federal protections awarded by the National Labor Relations Act did not apply.  The Court disagreed.

Source: Courthouse News Service

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