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The subject of free speech in union organizing campaigns has generated a great deal of discussion and comment over the years. This subject is naturally popular because of the intensity of a union organizing campaign, the importance of the subject to industry and organized labor, the evolution of constitutional and statutory doctrines applicable to free speech, and the shifts in opinion by commentators and the public over how such matters should be handled. This article will make no attempt to summarize or analyze what has already been said on the subject. Instead, this article will examine one aspect of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) doctrine, the so-called "laboratory conditions" standard, to determine its consistency with section 8(c) of the Taft-Hartley Act and the first amendment.

The "laboratory conditions" doctrine is particularly worthy of scholarly comment because of its vacillating and controversial nature. Indeed, no NLRB campaign speech policy raises more serious statutory and constitutional issues than does this standard. Particular emphasis will be placed in this analysis on the evolution of the Hollywood Ceramics standard of campaign misrepresentation, as recently reaffirmed by the Board in General Knit. In order to have some appreciation for pertinent issues, it is first necessary briefly to address the background of these NLRB doctrines.