Recent NLRB Decision Upholds Validity of Pre-Organization Agreements between Labor and Management

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In a recent decision, Dana Corporation, 356 NLRB No. 49, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB or “the Board”) upheld a letter of agreement entered into by the United Auto Workers (“UAW”) and auto parts manufacturer Dana Corporation (“Dana”) on behalf of non-unionized employees at its facility in St. Johns, Michigan.. The agreement gave UAW rights to unionize the company’s employees without a secret-ballot election, instead providing that the union would be recognized if a majority of employees signed cards in its favor. Union officials and management also negotiated a pre-organization agreement on behalf of employees, stipulating to such items as four-year labor contracts and mandatory overtime.

The agreement required the UAW to begin organization efforts by requesting a list of employee addresses from Dana. When this occurred, several employees filed unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB, claiming that such behavior violated prohibitions against an employer assisted or dominated union. While the UAW never succeeded in collecting a majority of employee signatures, thus ending the organization effort, the case made its way all the way to the Board on review.

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