Chicago Region of Labor Board

Goes to Court Against Union


Wants TRO Against UNITE

for Secondary Pressure on

Michigan Avenue Hotel


Push Back by Hotel

after UNITE filed ULPs


            Although the National Labor Relations Board lately has not impressed critics as pro-business, the Regional Director in Chicago last week went to court to enjoin UNITE, the union locked in combat with the Park Hyatt for two years, from imposing secondary pressure on the condo owners association based in the same building as the hotel at 800 North Michigan. Joseph A. Barker, Regional Director of Region 13 v. UNITE HERE Local 1, No. 11cv6043 (N.D.. Ill. August 30, 2011).

             The Board’s complaint for injunctive relief under Section 10(l) of the Taft-Hartley Act wants Judge Marvin Aspen to throw the book at the union for its picketing, in late July, of the entrance to the offices of the 800 North Michigan Condominium Association, with signs stating:  

                                                ON STRIKE

                                                PARK HYATT

                                                UNITE HERE! 

                                                LOCAL 1

  and alternatively:

                                                 BOYCOTT HYATT

             The Board’s complaint alleges that the union’s picketing was designed to pressure the condo association from cease doing business with Hyatt.

             UNITE has filed a motion for expedited discovery, alleging that its picketing was protected by the First Amendment and that it was merely appealing to hotel customers who enter through the Condo Association entrance to get to the hotel, and (confusingly) that “receive services from the hotel in the [c]ondos.” Hence, the union argues, it was engaged in “primary” activity. It would appear that the issue is whether picketing, as opposed to handbilling, is coercive when directed at customers of the primary employer, at or nearby the primary employer’s facility.

             In July the union went to the Board with charges that Hyatt had violated the law by admittedly turning overhead heat lamps in the entrance awning (normally used to warm patrons and others  on picketers in cold weather). The parties have traded charges of bad faith bargaining for the past several weeks.