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Category Archives: Unions

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$650,000 Jury Award Against Sheet Metal Workers Union Affirmed

Posted in Secondary Boycotts, Unions

As I have blogged about before, one of the most powerful weapons contractors and owners have in combating illegal secondary activity by unions is Section 303 of the Labor Management Relations Act.  Section 303 authorizes a party to bring in action in federal court for monetary damages against a labor union who has caused harm… Continue Reading

Why the Ironworkers Conviction is Monumental

Posted in Unions

Yesterday’s guilty verdict is the trial of former Ironworkers’ Union President, Joe Dougherty, is a monumental decision with far reaching ramifications.  First, there is no longer any question that union bosses enjoy no immunity from federal racketeering and extortion laws.  Second, the decision clears the way for contractors to employ what has been called the… Continue Reading

Does My Collective Bargaining Agreement Prevent Me From Opening a Non-Union Company?

Posted in Unions

In short, no.  However, that short answer is not so simple and does not mean you can run and opening a non-union company.  Almost all construction industry collective bargaining agreement contain clauses that attempt to prevent a signatory firm from operating a non-union firm.  These clauses are commonly known as anti-dual shop or double-breasting clauses. … Continue Reading

5 Construction Law Trends to Watch in 2015

Posted in Construction Labor Law, Government Contracts, Infrastructure Construction, Mechanics Liens, Public Contracts, Public Private Partnerships (P3), Unions

As we enter the New Year, here is a look at 5 areas that will be a hot bed of legal activity for contractors and their attorneys. 1.   Aggressive Union Activity. Decreasing membership and market share, will cause Big Labor to ramp up efforts to “persuade” public and private owners to use an all… Continue Reading

Double Breasted Firms Sometimes Pay a Huge Price

Posted in Unions

An article on the website Real Estate Weekly entitled “Construction unions going after alter-ego contractors as profits shrink” recently grabbed my attention.  The article recounts the  familiar tale of a union shop contractor that was forced to pay $6 million for violating its collective bargaining agreement with a Carpenters Local. The Carpenters accused a New… Continue Reading

Why It Took So Long to Indict the Ironworkers

Posted in Picketing, Unions

News of the indictment of 10 members of the Ironworkers Union, left many wondering “What took them so long?”  As any developer or merit shop contractor will tell you, the actions that the Ironworkers are alleged to have engaged in are not solely the purview of the Ironworkers.  Indeed threats, violence, and property destruction are… Continue Reading

FAQ’s Regarding “Double Breasted” Construction Companies

Posted in Construction Labor Law, Unions

The terms “double breasted” or “dual shop” contractor refers two construction firms often sharing common ownership one of which is a signatory to a collective bargain agreement (the union firm) and the other that is not (the open shop firm).  Here are some frequently asked questions I have received in counseling clients who either already… Continue Reading

Why Non-Union Firms Should Never Hire a Union Worker to Buy Labor Peace

Posted in Unions

Often construction unions will force ask non-union construction firms to hire a union worker for employment on a construction project where the non-union firm is completing work.  Faced with the threat of a picket line, many contractors consider the employment a minor tax inconvenience in exchange for labor peace and decide to hire the union worker…. Continue Reading

FAQ’s About Union Picketing

Posted in Picketing, Unions

With a high number of their members still out of work and an increased willingness of owners to build projects using non-union construction in traditional union dominated markets, trade unions have increased their picketing activity on projects using non-union labor.  Here is a list of frequently asked questions we receive from owners and contractors working… Continue Reading

Federal Courts Continue to Frown Upon Illegal Secondary Activity

Posted in Secondary Boycotts, Unions

Federal Courts continue to be a friendly venue for victims of illegal union actions.  Recently in Waugh Chapel South, LLC v. UFCW Local 27, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals joined a growing number of Federal Courts in affirming the right to recover damages against a union for illegal secondary activity. In that case, Waugh Chapel… Continue Reading

Exploring the Limits of Union Protests

Posted in Secondary Boycotts, Unions

When unions picket a construction site to warn about a non-union contractor’s destruction of area wage and labor standards, the First Amendment does not give them unlimited protection for their actions.   Philadelphia Magazine’s Property blog has a story about an ongoing labor dispute between Philadelphia trade unions and an apartment developer that brings to the… Continue Reading

Should Organizers of Rowdy Union Pickets Be Prosecuted?

Posted in Unions

In cities like Philadelphia, trade union picketing of a non-union construction site is common place.  Mostly the picketing is tame,.  Occasionally, the unions step it up a notch and bring out a rat or two.  However, sometimes, like in the Goldtex dispute, these protests become rowdy, disruptive, and violent.  Often the owner of the non-union… Continue Reading

Anti-Union v. Anti-Union Tactics

Posted in Picketing, Unions

Is the controversial Goldtex project the beginning of the end for the last union-town in America?  Ryan Briggs over at has an interesting piece that explores this question.   I have been an outspoken proponent of what the developers of the Goldtex project are doing.  I applaud them not because they are trying to bust up… Continue Reading

Section 303 Private Rights of Action: What Do If You Receive a Letter from the Carpenters’ Union.

Posted in Picketing, Secondary Boycotts, Unions

Yesterday, I talked about how the Carpenters’ Union has been sending letters to neutral employers threaten to picket a job site if a merit shop contractor were permitted to perform work on that site.  I received multiple inquiries asking what a contractor can do if they are the target of such a letter.  The most… Continue Reading

PLA Fails to Prevent NYC Strike

Posted in Project Labor Agreements, Secondary Boycotts, Unions

The Concrete Union strike in New York and subsequent walk off on the World Trade Center Memorial and Madison Square Garden projects  made minor fanfare this week.    What many do not realize is that the Concrete Union was the signatory to a project labor agreement (“PLA”) covering these project which is supposed to prevent… Continue Reading

NLRB Fails to Tag Carpenters YouTube Video

Posted in Picketing, Unions

In a shocking decision, the NLRB recently ruled that the Carpenters Union did not violate Section 8(b)(1)(A) of the NLRA when it infiltrated a non-union contractor’s job site, videotaped non-union employees, and then posted the edited video on YouTube. In Metropolitan Regional Council of Carpenters (Forcine Concrete), the Board addressed  an unfair labor charge based upon a YouTube… Continue Reading

Union Labor Loses Grip on NYC Construction

Posted in Project Labor Agreements, Unions

Recently, the Regional Plan Association published a report “Construction Labor Cost in New York City,” which highlighted how union construction firms continue to lose market share to merit based firms.  A copy of this report is available for download here.  The report comes on the heels of a recent New York Times article regarding the… Continue Reading

Unions Challenge Iowa PLA Ban

Posted in Construction Labor Law, Unions

According to the Des Moines register, two union trade organizations have sued Iowa Governor  Terry Branstad and 10 other elected officials over Governor Branstad’s executive order banning Project Labor Agreements on Iowa Public Projects.  A copy of the Executive Order can be downloaded here:  Iowa PLA Executive Order The Complaint challenges the removal of PLA’s from… Continue Reading