Secondary Boycott

Author:Jeffrey Lehman, Shirelle Phelps
 
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A group's refusal to work for, purchase from, or handle the products of a business with which the group has no dispute.

A secondary boycott is an attempt to influence the actions of one business by exerting pressure on another business. For example, assume that a group has a complaint against the Acme Company. Assume further that the Widget Company is the major supplier to the Acme Company. If the complaining group informs the Widget Company that it will persuade the public to stop doing business with the company unless it stops doing business with Acme Company, such a boycott of the Widget Company would be a secondary boycott. The intended effect of such a boycott would be to influence

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the actions of Acme Company by organizing against its major supplier.

LABOR UNIONS are the most common practitioners of secondary boycotts. Typically a labor union involved in a dispute with an employer will arrange a secondary boycott if less drastic measures to reach a satisfactory accord with the employer have been ineffective. Secondary boycotts have two main forms: a secondary consumer boycott, in which the union appeals to consumers to withhold patronage of a business, and a secondary employee boycott, in which the union dissuades employees from working for a particular business.

Generally a secondary boycott is considered an UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICE when it is organized by a labor union. Congress first acted to prohibit secondary boycotts in the LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS ACT of 1947 (29 U.S.C.A. § 141 et seq.), also called the TAFT-HARTLEY ACT. The Taft-Hartley Act was a set of amendments to the National Labor Relations Act, also known as the WAGNER ACT of 1935 (29 U.S.C.A. § 151 et seq.). Congress limits the right of labor unions to conduct secondary boycotts because such activity is considered basically unfair and because it can have a devastating effect on intrastate and interstate commerce and the general state of the economy.

On the federal level, the right of a labor union to arrange a secondary boycott is limited by section 8(b)(4) of the National Labor Relations Act. Under the act, no labor union may threaten, coerce, or restrain any person engaged in commerce in order to force that person to cease doing business with any other person (29 U.S.C.A. § 158(b)(4)(ii)(B)). Secondary boycotts may be enjoined, or stopped, by order of a federal court, and an aggrieved business may file...

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