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"Can Something Intangible Be a 'Thing of Value'? The Permissibility of Neutrality Agreements under The Labor Management Relations Act"

Does an employer offer a "thing of value" to a union when it agrees not to oppose a union organizing campaign?  The circuit courts are split.  The Third and Fourth Circuits have held that a neutrality agreement is not a thing of value, and is therefore permissible under Section 302 of the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA).  However, the Eleventh Circuit recently held that such an agreement may be a thing of value, and unlawful under Section 302 if it is entered into by the employer with the intent to improperly influence a union.  Although the U.S. Supreme Court may consider the issue in the upcoming months, until it does, the ability of an employer to enter into a neutrality agreement turns, in part, upon geography.

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