After hearing oral arguments in Unite HERE v. Mulhall several weeks ago, the Supreme Court has dismissed the writ of certiorari as “improvidently granted”. A majority of the Supreme Court decided not to consider the issues presented in the case – most notably whether Section 302 of the Labor Management Relations Act prohibits “neutrality agreements” between employers and unions seeking to organize — but the Justices provided no explanation of why.
Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan dissented, issuing a three page dissent that argued for considering several issues including whether the case was moot, whether the Plaintiff had standing, and whether Section 302 provides a private right of action.
The dismissal means that the 11th Circuit’s decision (which we discussed here) stands. It remains to be seen how this affects unions who seek to organize with neutrality agreements in the future. However, as the dissenters point out, allowing the 11th Circuit’s ruling to stand will negatively impact the collective bargaining process because it “raises the specter that an employer or union official could be found guilty of a crime that carries a 5-year maximum sentence, see 29 U. S. C. §186(d), if the employer or union official is found to have made certain commonplace organizing assistance agreements with the intent to ‘corrupt’ or ‘extort.'”