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United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
December 2, 2020, Argued; February 19, 2021, Decided
No. 20-1060 Consolidated with 20-1061, 20-1134
[*489] Opinion for the Court filed by Senior Circuit Judge Sentelle.
Sentelle, Senior Circuit Judge: Manufacturer Leggett & Platt, Inc. ("employer" or "company") petitions for review of NLRB orders which concluded, among other things, that employer had [*490] committed an unfair labor practice ("ULP") by withdrawing recognition from its employees' union based on a petition signed by a majority of the [**2] bargaining unit members seeking a withdrawal of recognition. The Board deemed this withdrawal of recognition unfair because of a later petition circulated by the union to the opposite effect, which the union had not disclosed to the employer at the time of the withdrawal of recognition. In reaching this decision, the Board expressly refused to retroactively apply a Board precedent ruling that employers engaging in the same conduct under similar circumstances do not commit unfair labor practices. In its precedential decision, the Board expressly determined that the rule should be applied retroactively. Before the court, petitioner contends that the Board's decision departing from its precedent in this case was arbitrary and capricious. Because we agree, we grant in large part the employer's petition, though we deny as to a secondary ULP and deny the Board's cross-application for enforcement.
A. The Withdrawal of Recognition ULP
Petitioner is a manufacturer of household and commercial furniture. It operates a facility in Winchester, Kentucky, for the manufacture of innerspring mattresses in which it employs approximately 250 members of the bargaining unit involved in the present [**3] proceeding. At the time of the events underlying this proceeding, the bargaining unit employees were represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Local Lodge 619 ("union"). The employer's recognition of the unit had been embodied in a successive line of collective bargaining agreements ("CBA") beginning in September of 1965. At the times relevant to this controversy, the current CBA was effective from February 28, 2014, to February 28, 2017.
In December of 2016, Keith Purvis, a unit employee who has filed a separate petition now joined in this same proceeding, began circulating among the bargaining unit members a petition seeking decertification of the union. The operative language of the petition read: "The undersigned employees of Leggett and Platt #002 do not want to be represented by IAM 619 hereafter referred to as 'union'." App. 245-64. Other employees assisted Purvis in the circulation of the petition. By December 19, a majority of the bargaining unit members had signed the petition, and Purvis presented it to the plant's general manager, Chuck Denisio. Management employees of Leggett & Platt compared the signatures on the petition with employment [**4] records to verify the authenticity of the petition and confirmed that it was signed by a majority of the bargaining unit employees.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
988 F.3d 487 *; 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 4784 **; 2021 WL 644100
LEGGETT & PLATT, INC., PETITIONER v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, RESPONDENT;INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MACHINISTS AND AEROSPACE WORKERS, INTERVENOR
Subsequent History: Rehearing denied by Leggett & Platt, Inc. v. NLRB, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 7486 (D.C. Cir., Mar. 15, 2021)
Prior History: [**1] On Petitions for Review and Cross-Application for Enforcement of Orders of the National Labor Relations Board.
Leggett & Platt, Inc., 2018 NLRB LEXIS 638 (Dec. 17, 2018)
bargaining, retroactively, employees, withdrawal, bargaining unit, decertification, cases, unfair labor practice, retroactive application, manifest injustice, expiration, signatures, election, majority support, anticipatory, circulation, credibility, present case, counter-petition, capricious, announced, changes, parties, orders
Labor & Employment Law, Collective Bargaining & Labor Relations, Duty of Fair Representation, Civil Procedure, Judgments, Preclusion of Judgments, Prospective & Retroactive Applications, Governments, Legislation, Effect & Operation, Retrospective Operation, Administrative Law, Judicial Review, Standards of Review, Arbitrary & Capricious Standard of Review, Agency Adjudication, Decisions, Stare Decisis, Judicial Review, Unfair Labor Practices, Union Violations, Union Refusal to Bargain, Bargaining Units, Appeals, Record on Appeal