All notes for Subtopic 401.07000 – Display of Union Insignia

DecisionDescriptionPERC Vol.PERC IndexDate
2880H Regents of the University of California
401.07000: EMPLOYER INTERFERENCE, RESTRAINT, COERCION, EMPLOYER CONDUCT AFFECTING ORGANIZING, UNION ACCESS; SOLICITATION, AND OTHER UNION RIGHTS; Display of Union Insignia
PERB considers several factors in determining whether special circumstances exist that would justify a restriction on the right to display union insignia: whether the insignia could jeopardize employee safety, disrupt employee discipline (e.g., exacerbate employee dissention or cause distraction from work demanding great concentration), or negatively affect the employer (e.g., damage machinery, products, or a certain image necessarily projected for the public). Also important is the specific context in which the prohibition was enacted or enforced, the locations involved, and the parties’ past practice. (p. 10.) A history of union insignia display in the workplace without resulting incidents is relevant to determine whether special circumstances exist (p. 10). more or view all topics or full text.
487110/24/23
2880H Regents of the University of California
401.07000: EMPLOYER INTERFERENCE, RESTRAINT, COERCION, EMPLOYER CONDUCT AFFECTING ORGANIZING, UNION ACCESS; SOLICITATION, AND OTHER UNION RIGHTS; Display of Union Insignia
The right to wear union insignia in the workplace is not unlimited and may be subject to reasonable regulation. However, any restriction on the right to display union insignia and messages in the workplace is presumptively invalid; it is permitted only if special circumstances exist justifying the prohibition. (pp. 8-9.) The employer has the burden of establishing that its policy or rule abrogating employees’ right to display union insignia is justified by special circumstances. This analysis is done through a case-by-case approach that considers the particulars of the employer’s operations; the employer must make a concrete, fact-based evidentiary showing that special circumstances exist. (pp. 7-8.) more or view all topics or full text.
487110/24/23
1727E East Whittier School District
401.07000: EMPLOYER INTERFERENCE, RESTRAINT, COERCION, EMPLOYER CONDUCT AFFECTING ORGANIZING, UNION ACCESS; SOLICITATION, AND OTHER UNION RIGHTS; Display of Union Insignia
As it stated in Turlock I, the Board does not agree that the wearing of union buttons is “political” activity within the meaning of Education Code section 7055. When examined in light of adjacent statutory provisions and the purposes of EERA, the scope of the definition of “political activities” in Section 7055 cannot reasonably be construed so broadly as to encompass the exercise of concerted activity through the wearing of a button communicating employees’ bargaining demands, expressing unity and support for the union, and building solidarity. While the term “political activities” is not specifically defined in the Education Code, sections 7050-7058, read in their entirety, clearly associate political activity with an election of a candidate or a ballot measure. (p. 14.) more or view all topics or full text.
294012/21/04
1727E East Whittier School District
401.07000: EMPLOYER INTERFERENCE, RESTRAINT, COERCION, EMPLOYER CONDUCT AFFECTING ORGANIZING, UNION ACCESS; SOLICITATION, AND OTHER UNION RIGHTS; Display of Union Insignia
Where it is alleged that a button is distracting or disruptive, an objective examination of the button should take place. Buttons that contain profanity, incite violence, or which disparage specific individuals will always meet the special circumstances test. Otherwise, the trier of fact must examine the button in its given context to determine whether an objectively reasonable person would find it unduly distracting or disruptive. In determining whether a button is unduly distracting or disruptive, the trier of fact should consider both PERB precedent and private sector cases under the NLRA, as the ALJ did in analyzing Fabri-Tek. The trier of fact should also compare the buttons to other distractions prohibited or allowed by the employer. (p. 13.) more or view all topics or full text.
294012/21/04
1727E East Whittier School District
401.07000: EMPLOYER INTERFERENCE, RESTRAINT, COERCION, EMPLOYER CONDUCT AFFECTING ORGANIZING, UNION ACCESS; SOLICITATION, AND OTHER UNION RIGHTS; Display of Union Insignia
It is well-settled under the statutes administered by PERB that employees have a protected right to wear union buttons at the workplace. (State of California (Department of Parks and Recreation) (1993) PERB Decision No. 1026-S (Parks): see also, State of California (Department of Parks and Recreation) (1983) PERB Decision No. 328-S.) In Parks, a unanimous decision, Member Carlyle set forth the simple rule that, “the wearing of union buttons is a protected right, absent special circumstances.” (Parks at p. 4.) What constitutes a “special circumstance” depends on the setting, and “special circumstances” recognized in industrial settings may not be applicable in a classroom. Here, of the five special circumstances or considerations listed in Pay’N Save (employee dissension, safety, property damage, distraction, and public image), the District in this case argues only that distraction is an issue. The District has not shown that the classroom work at issue requires such a high degree of concentration, or that one more distraction could have dire consequences. Further, the District has not demonstrated that any of its students are particularly susceptible to distraction, which might justify banning buttons as to those students. Finally, the Board takes notice that the record establishes that the District permits other articles of clothing and activities which are as distracting, if not more, than the buttons at issue. Accordingly, the Board finds that the District has no established distraction as a special circumstance justifying its policy and regulation. In reaching this finding, the Board has not considered any evidence of actual disruption; rather, the test must be an objective one based on an examination of the buttons at issue. (pp. 8-13.) more or view all topics or full text.
294012/21/04
2702M City of Sacramento
401.07000: EMPLOYER INTERFERENCE, RESTRAINT, COERCION, EMPLOYER CONDUCT AFFECTING ORGANIZING, UNION ACCESS; SOLICITATION, AND OTHER UNION RIGHTS; Display of Union Insignia
A history of union insignia display in the workplace without resulting incidents is relevant to determine whether special circumstances exist (p. 11), and a history of allowing non-union related items on hardhats without incident also weighs against finding special circumstances (p. 14.) An employer need not wait until an actual injury occurs before banning union insignia for safety reasons; but to establish safety-based special circumstances to support such a ban, the employer must present concrete evidence that employee safety is foreseeably threatened by displaying the union insignia and that it has acted consistently with its stated concern. (p. 14.) more or view all topics or full text.
4415303/25/20
2702M City of Sacramento
401.07000: EMPLOYER INTERFERENCE, RESTRAINT, COERCION, EMPLOYER CONDUCT AFFECTING ORGANIZING, UNION ACCESS; SOLICITATION, AND OTHER UNION RIGHTS; Display of Union Insignia
Contrary to an employer’s stated safety concerns—banning stickers is necessary to prevent damage to employee hardhats—it failed to produce any evidence that the ban was necessary to prevent hardhat damage. Lack of evidence that the employer conducted any regular inspection of the hardhats for damage undermined those concerns. It also allowed employees to affix other items to their hardhats with adhesive materials without any explanation regarding those materials’ effect on the hardhats. (pp. 12-14.) more or view all topics or full text.
4415303/25/20
2702M City of Sacramento
401.07000: EMPLOYER INTERFERENCE, RESTRAINT, COERCION, EMPLOYER CONDUCT AFFECTING ORGANIZING, UNION ACCESS; SOLICITATION, AND OTHER UNION RIGHTS; Display of Union Insignia
PERB considers several factors in determining whether special circumstances exist that would justify a restriction on the right to display union insignia: whether the insignia could jeopardize employee safety, disrupt employee discipline (e.g., exacerbate employee dissention or cause distraction from work demanding great concentration), or negatively affect the employer (e.g., damage machinery, products, or a certain image necessarily projected for the public). Also important is the specific context in which the prohibition was enacted or enforced, the locations involved, and the parties’ past practice. (p. 10.) more or view all topics or full text.
4415303/25/20
2702M City of Sacramento
401.07000: EMPLOYER INTERFERENCE, RESTRAINT, COERCION, EMPLOYER CONDUCT AFFECTING ORGANIZING, UNION ACCESS; SOLICITATION, AND OTHER UNION RIGHTS; Display of Union Insignia
The employer has the burden of establishing that its policy or rule abrogating employees’ right to display union insignia is justified by special circumstances. This analysis is done through a case-by-case approach that considers the particulars of the employer’s operations; the employer must make a concrete, fact-based evidentiary showing that special circumstances exist. (p. 10.) more or view all topics or full text.
4415303/25/20
2702M City of Sacramento
401.07000: EMPLOYER INTERFERENCE, RESTRAINT, COERCION, EMPLOYER CONDUCT AFFECTING ORGANIZING, UNION ACCESS; SOLICITATION, AND OTHER UNION RIGHTS; Display of Union Insignia
The right to wear union insignia in the workplace is not unlimited and may be subject to reasonable regulation. However, any restriction on the right to display union insignia and messages in the workplace is presumptively invalid; it is permitted only if special circumstances exist justifying the prohibition. (p. 9.) more or view all topics or full text.
4415303/25/20
2616H Regents of the University of California (California Nurses Association)
401.07000: EMPLOYER INTERFERENCE, RESTRAINT, COERCION, EMPLOYER CONDUCT AFFECTING ORGANIZING, UNION ACCESS; SOLICITATION, AND OTHER UNION RIGHTS; Display of Union Insignia
To show special circumstances, employer need not prove actual disruption, though evidence of disruption or lack thereof is a relevant factor. General, speculative, isolated, or conclusory evidence of potential disruption does not amount to special circumstances. more or view all topics or full text.
4311012/21/18
2616H Regents of the University of California (California Nurses Association)
401.07000: EMPLOYER INTERFERENCE, RESTRAINT, COERCION, EMPLOYER CONDUCT AFFECTING ORGANIZING, UNION ACCESS; SOLICITATION, AND OTHER UNION RIGHTS; Display of Union Insignia
Employees have a right to wear union insignia and buttons at their workplace. Restrictions on the right are lawful only if the employer proves they are justified by special circumstances. more or view all topics or full text.
4311012/21/18
2393M County of Sacramento
401.07000: EMPLOYER INTERFERENCE, RESTRAINT, COERCION, EMPLOYER CONDUCT AFFECTING ORGANIZING, UNION ACCESS; SOLICITATION, AND OTHER UNION RIGHTS; Display of Union Insignia
Absent special circumstances, firefighters have the statutorily protected right under the MMBA to wear public safety uniform apparel (t-shirts and caps) bearing the union logo while on duty; a “no union logo” blanket policy is unlawful because it interferes with firefighters in the exercise of their right to participate in the activities of an employee organization of their own choosing for the purpose of representation on all matters of employer-employee relations. more or view all topics or full text.
395410/16/14
1026S State of California (Department of Parks and Recreation) (International Union of Operating Engineers, Craft-Maintenance Division, Units 12 and 13)
401.07000: EMPLOYER INTERFERENCE, RESTRAINT, COERCION, EMPLOYER CONDUCT AFFECTING ORGANIZING, UNION ACCESS; SOLICITATION, AND OTHER UNION RIGHTS; Display of Union Insignia
The protected right to wear union buttons is not unlimited and is subject to reasonable regulation. If special circumstances exist, then the employer may be within its rights to limit or prohibit the wearing of buttons by employees; p. 4, proposed dec. Special circumstances justifying a prohibition of union buttons or insignia exist where buttons could jeopardize employee's safety; damaged machinery or products; exacerbate employee dissension; cause distraction from work demanding great concentration; disrupt the uniformity, discipline or appearance of neutrality among para-military law enforcement employees: or damage the image to the public by the employees coming into contact with the public in the absence of a protected purpose; pp. 18-19, proposed dec. Wearing of buttons not protected by first amendment. Wearing of buttons not protected by first amendment. more or view all topics or full text.
182501111/17/93