Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Dana Corp. is back in the news yet again. This time because of a challenge to an agreement between the employer and the UAW under which the employer agreed to voluntary recognize the union if a majority of employees signed authorization cards. In Dana Corp., the Board, as it has done several times before for such agreements, concluded that the procedures did not violate Section 8(b)(1)(A). According to the NLRB's press release:
The National Labor Relations Board, in a 2-1 decision, found that an auto parts manufacturer and the United Auto Workers union did not violate labor law by agreeing to ground rules by which the union would be recognized if a majority of employees signed cards in favor of it, and by creating a framework for any future collective bargaining agreements. . . .
Today’s Board decision stemmed from an attempt by the UAW to organize about 300 employees at a Dana plant in St. Johns, Michigan. As called for in the agreement, the union began the process by requesting a list of employee addresses from Dana. Three employees filed unfair labor practice charges with the regional NLRB office in Detroit, claiming that the pre-recognition agreement violated a section of labor law that prohibits employers from providing certain kinds of support to unions or creating their own company unions.
In their majority opinion, Chairman Wilma Liebman and Member Mark Pearce agreed with ALJ Kocol that the agreement was lawful. “The Board and courts have long recognized that various types of agreements and understandings between employers and unrecognized unions fall within the framework of permissible cooperation,” they wrote. That is not to say that every pre-recognition agreement is lawful, they added. “Each case, rather, will depend upon its own facts.”
Dissenting, Member Brian Hayes said the agreement between Dana and the UAW was factually and legally similar to an earlier case (Majestic Weaving Co., 147 NLRB 859, (1964)), in which the employer and union were found to have acted unlawfully. “My colleagues’ approach threatens to reinstate the very practice that those statutory provisions were meant to prohibit, i.e., the establishment of collective-bargaining relationships based on self-interested union-employer agreements that preempt employee choice and input as to their representation and desired terms and conditions of employment.”
The irony is that the UAW never got a majority of cards, but I guess the ruling means that it can still hope.