Time Warner Cable of New York City LLC v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 18-2323 (2d Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Time Warner petitions for review of a Board ruling that Time Warner committed an unfair labor practice in violation of Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act by coercively interrogating employees about communications leading to an unprotected demonstration and work stoppage that contravened the no-strike agreement between Time Warner and the Union.
The Second Circuit held that the Board's standard, interpreted to prohibit Time Warner from coercively questioning employees who participated in an unprotected work stoppage about any communication prior to the stoppage except to identify actual participants, represented an unexplained and unjustified departure from the Board's precedents. The court explained that the portion of the Board's standard requiring that in coercive questioning, employers "focus closely" on unprotected activity where it might touch on protected activity has a reasonable basis in law, but the Board's requirement that an employer "minimize" intrusion into Section 7 activity in such questioning, at least as understood by the Board in this case, does not. Because the Board's enunciated standard, at least as applied here, lacks a reasonable basis in law, the court vacated the Board's ruling and remanded for further proceedings. On remand, the Board should determine, employing a standard consistent with its precedent, whether Time Warner's questioning interfered unreasonably with employees' rights protected by Section 7.