Work it Out Blog

Surveillance in a Unionized Workplace: The Duty to Bargain Prior to Activating Cameras

Jun 19, 2017

In an unpublished ruling dated April 3, 2017, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) followed its own precedent by ordering a company to stop unilaterally turning on surveillance cameras in a unionized manufacturing facility without providing the union a chance to bargain over the issue.  The case, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC, Case No. 10-CA-181740, was resolved after Bridgestone and its Union reached a settlement agreement.

The Union filed an unfair labor practice charge alleging that Bridgestone made unilateral changes involving a mandatory subject of bargaining through the use of its surveillance cameras.  Among other things, Bridgestone was ordered to “cease and desist from … unilaterally turning on surveillance cameras without affording the Union notice and an opportunity to bargain to agreement or a good-faith impasse.”

The takeaway from the case is that regardless of technological advances that make surveillance easier than ever before, the NLRB views the use of such technology as involving a mandatory subject of bargaining.  To avoid a similar fate, invite your union to bargain before expending the funds for the surveillance equipment, and certainly before hitting the record button.

For more information, contact Robert McBride or any of Day Ketterer’s labor attorneys.

The content of this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice for any purpose. This blog is not intended to present an exhaustive summary of all applicable laws, or to take the place of legal advice.  If you have any questions regarding the law, please contact us for assistance.