Protected Concerted Activity in Union and Non-Union Workplaces

It is an unfair labor practice under Section 8(e) for any labor organization and any employer to enter into what is commonly called a “hot cargo” or “hot goods” agreement. An agreement whereby the employer agrees to stop doing business with any other employer is void and unenforceable. A strike, picketing or any other union action or threat of action to force an employer to agree to a hot cargo provision, or to force it to act in accordance with such a clause, constitutes a violation of Section 8(b)(4)(A).

Exceptions are allowed in the construction and garment industries. A union may seek, by contract, to keep work being done by the employees in a bargaining unit or to secure work that is “fairly claimable” in that unit.

A construction industry union and employer may agree to restrict the contracting or subcontracting of work to be done at the construction site. Such an arrangement typically provides that, if work is subcontracted by the employer, it must go to an employer who has an agreement with the union.

An employer and a union in the garment industry can agree that work to be done on the goods or on the premises of a jobber or manufacturer or work that is part of “an integrated process of production in the apparel and clothing industry” can be subcontracted only to an employer who has an agreement with the union. This exception, unlike that concerning the construction industry, allows a labor organization in the garment industry not only to seek to obtain, but also to enforce, such a restriction on subcontracting by striking, picketing or other lawful actions.