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If employees are dissatisfied with their chosen union, they may submit their own grievance to the National Labor Relations Board. If an employer has doubts about his duty to continue bargaining, it is his responsibility to petition the Board for relief, while continuing to bargain in good faith at least until the Board has given some indication that his claim has merit. Although the Board may, if the facts warrant, revoke a certification or agree not to pursue a charge of an unfair labor practice, these are matters for the Board; they do not justify employer self-help or judicial intervention. The underlying purpose of 29 U.S.C.S. § 159 is industrial peace. To allow employers to rely on employees' rights in refusing to bargain with the formally designated union is not conducive to that end, it is inimical to it.
The National Labor Relations Board conducted a representation election in employer's Chrysler-Plymouth agency on April 12, 1951. District Lodge No. 727, International Association of Machinists, won by a vote of eight to five, and the Labor Board certified it as the exclusive bargaining representative on April 20. A week after the election and the day before the certification, petitioner received a handwritten letter signed by nine of the 13 employees in the bargaining unit stating: "We, the undersigned majority of the employees . . . are not in favor of being represented by Union Local No. 727 as a bargaining agent." Relying on this letter and the decision of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Labor Board v. Vulcan Forging Co., 188 F.2d 927, employer refused to bargain with the union. The Labor Board found, 98 N. L. R. B. 976, that employer had thereby committed an unfair labor practice in violation of §§ 8 (a)(1) and 8 (a)(5) of the amended National Labor Relations Act, 61 Stat. 140-141, 29 U. S. C. §§ 158 (a)(1), (a)(5), and the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit enforced the Board's order to bargain.
Can an employer legally refuse to bargain with the elected bargaining representative on the basis that a majority of employees had deserted the union?
The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed and held that employer could not legally refuse to bargain with the elected bargaining representative on the basis that a majority of employees had deserted the union. If the employees were dissatisfied, they could submit a grievance to the Board. If an employer had doubts about his duty to bargain, it was the employer's responsibility to petition the Board for relief while continuing to bargain in good faith with the elected representative. The Act had specific procedures to follow, all in the name of industrial peace. Allowing employers to refuse to bargain based on the wishes of their employees would have destroyed that goal.