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Allentown Mack Sales & Serv. v. NLRB - 522 U.S. 359


Courts must defer to requirements imposed by the National Labor Relations Board if they are rational and consistent with the National Labor Relations Act, and if the Board's explication is not inadequate, irrational or arbitrary.


Respondent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued an order requiring petitioner employer, Allentown Mack Sales & Services, to recognize and bargain with a union, upon a finding that Allentown had violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), 29 U.S.C.S. §§ 158(a)(1), 158(a)(5), by holding a poll to assess employee support for a union. On review, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit enforced the NLRB's bargaining order. Petitioner Allentown sought certiorari review.


Did substantial evidence exist to support the judicial enforcement of the bargaining order of the NLRB against an employer?




The United States Supreme Court reversed the judgment and remanded the case with instructions to deny enforcement. The Court held that the NLRB's "reasonable doubt" test for employer polls was facially rational and consistent with the NLRA, but the NLRB's factual finding that the employer lacked such a doubt was not supported by substantial evidence. On the evidence presented to the NLRB, a reasonable jury could not have found that the employer lacked a genuine, reasonable uncertainty about whether the union enjoyed the continuing support of a majority of unit employees.

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