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Almost a quarter of a century ago, the Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision in NLRB v. Babcock & Wilcox. The Court held that an employer may prohibit nonemployee union organizers from distributing literature to its employees on company property if the employees are not beyond the reasonable reach of the union and the no-access rule does not discriminate against the union. Since Babcock & Wilcox, the development of the law regarding the right of nonemployee organizers to solicit employees on private property not open to the public has followed a predictable path. However, when the property concerned is open to the public (quasi-public), and other types of activity protected by section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (Act or NLRA) are also affected, the law has not followed predictable paths and is in a high state of flux. Although five years ago the Supreme Court in Hudgens v. NLRB overruled its decision in Food Employees Local 590 v. Logan Valley Plaza, Inc., a review of recent decisions of the National Labor Relations Board (Board or NLRB) and the courts suggests that the right of nonemployee union representatives to come onto quasi-public property to engage in protected activities has actually expanded during that period. This is especially true if the activity includes picketing or handbilling of customers at multi-employer locations. ...

This article will examine and analyze these and other recent decisions of the Board and the courts dealing with organized labor's rights under section 7 of the Act to engage in such activities as picketing, solicitation, and distribution of literature to employees, customers, and the public on privately-owned property which is open to the public (such as shopping centers, office buildings, and industrial parks).