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Law School Case Brief

NLRB v. Ins. Agents' Int'l Union - 361 U.S. 477, 80 S. Ct. 419 (1960)

Rule:

The scope of § 8(b)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act (Act), 29 U.S.C.S. § 158(b)(3), and the limitations on National Labor Relations Board power which are the design of § 8(d) of the Act are exceeded by inferring a lack of good faith not from any deficiencies of the union's performance at the bargaining table by reason of its attempted use of economic pressure, but solely and simply because tactics designed to exert economic pressure are employed during the course of good-faith negotiations. The use of economic pressure is of itself not at all inconsistent with the duty of bargaining in good faith.

Facts:

Respondent, a union representing insurance agents, while negotiating collective bargaining agreements with the employer, sought to bring economic pressure upon the employer by having its agent-members engage in certain planned, concerted on-the-job activities designed to harass the employer. The employer thereupon brought unfair labor practice proceedings before Petitioner National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), charging the union with refusing to bargain collectively. The bNLRB entered a cease-and-desist order against Respondent union (119 NLRB 768), but the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit set aside this order. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari review.

Issue:

Did the use of economic pressure constitute unfair labor practice?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The Court held that the union's statutory duty to bargain collectively in good faith did not bar it from bringing to bear upon the employer economic pressures of the kind involved in the instant case. According to the Court, the use of economic pressure was not inconsistent with the duty of bargaining in good faith; and the  was NLRB not empowered under § 8 (b)(3) to distinguish among various union economic weapons and to brand those here involved inconsistent with good-faith collective bargaining.

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