National Labor Relations Board v. Constellation Brands U.S. Operations, Inc., No. 19-1549 (7th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
In 2015, Woodbridge Winery cellar employees held an election and certified Local 601 as their collective bargaining representative. Woodbridge challenged the certification before the National Labor Relations Board, then successfully challenged the Board’s order. The case remains pending before the Board. In 2016, Chavez wrote “Cellar Lives Matter” with a marker on his safety vest, which he wore for about two weeks. No employee complained to him about the slogan, Chavez claims that many of his co-workers responded positively. Woodbridge informed Chavez that “numerous people” found the slogan offensive and directed him to stop wearing the vest. Chavez stated that the slogan was not racially motivated but was only about supporting the union’s position. He stopped wearing the vest.
Local 601 filed charges against Woodbridge; separately, the Board’s General Counsel issued a consolidated unfair labor practices complaint against the winery. The union alleged that Woodbridge violated section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act by directing Chavez to stop wearing clothing bearing any pro-union message and, unrelated to Chavez, that Woodbridge violated the Act by maintaining a policy in its employee handbook that limited eligibility for a bonus program to “non-union full time and regular part-time employees.” An ALJ found that Woodbridge had violated the Act on both fronts. The Board affirmed. The Seventh Circuit granted enforcement of the order, finding it supported by substantial evidence.