SCOTUS: UNITE HERE v. Mulhall dismissed as improvidently granted

Important labor law issues left undecided by US Supreme Court. Surprise, folks. The US Supreme Court this morning issued a one-liner in UNITE HERE v. Mulhall [official text]: "The writ of certiorari is dismissed as improvidently granted."

That leaves the 11th Circuit's decision as the final word in the case.

The union and a non-union employer entered into a neutrality agreement, and one of the employees objected. The 11th Circuit held that certain promises by the employer to the union were "things of value" resulting in a violation of Labor Management Relations Act Section 302(a):

  1. that the employer will remain neutral in respect to the union’s efforts to organize its employees,
  2. that the union will be given access (for organizing purposes) to nonpublic areas of the employer’s premises, and
  3. that the union will receive a list of em­ployees’ names and contact information (also for organiz­ing purposes).

A dissent by three Justices gives us a peek into the reasons why the Court decided that it just was not going to decide this case:

  • The case possibly was moot because the promises expired before the 11th Circuit made its decision.
  • It is possible that Mulhall lacks Article III standing.

The dissenters would have requested the parties to file additional briefs to address those two issues, plus one more - whether somebody like Mulhall has a private right of action under Section 302.