Ingress-Plastene, Inc., 481 (1969)

National Labor Relations Board

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Ingress-Plastene, Inc., 481 (1969)


Ingress-Plastene, Inc. and International Union, Allied Respondent of its desire to negotiate for a new Industrial Workers of America, AFL-CIO. Case contract. On September 21, 1967, Respondent 25-CA-2969 offered to meet at an agreeable time for that June 30, 1969 DECISION AND ORDER

BY MEMBERS FANNING, BROWN, AND ZAGORIA On March 24, 1969, Trial Examiner Lowell Goerlich issued his Decision in the above-entitled proceeding, finding that the Respondent had engaged in and was engaging in certain unfair labor practices within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, and recommending that it cease and desist therefrom and take certain affirmative action, as set forth in the attached Trial Examiner's Decision. Thereafter, the Respondent and the General Counsel filed exceptions to the Decision and supporting briefs.

Pursuant to the provisions of Section 3(b) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, the National Labor Relations Board has delegated its powers in connection with this case to a three-member panel.

The Board has reviewed the rulings of the Trial Examiner made at the hearing and finds that no prejudicial error was committed. The rulings are hereby affirmed. The Board has considered the Trial Examiner' s Decision, the exceptions and brief, and the entire record in this case, and hereby adopts the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the Trial Examiner, with the following additions and qualifications.

1. The Trial Examiner found that during the period from late September 1967 to early December 1967, the Respondent engaged in extensive unfair labor practices in violation of Section 8(a)(1) of the Act. The Trial Examiner detailed many incidents of such illegal conduct, including instances of (1) interrogation of employees, (2) soliciting and assisting withdrawals of checkoff authorizations, (3) impressing upon employees the futility of continued adherence to the Union, (4) creating of the impression of surveillance, (5) announcement and promises of beneficial changes in wages and working conditions, and (6) disparagement of the Union by unilateral action. We agree with the Trial Examiner' s findings and conclusions in this regard.

2. The Trial Examiner also found that the Respondent illegally refused to bargain by withdrawing recognition and by unilaterally instituting changes in wages and conditions of employment, all in violation of Section 8(a)(5) and (1) of the Act. We believe that these conclusions are amply sustained by the evidence in the record.

The Union was certified on September 30, 1966, and the first and only contract provided a term from April 24, 1967, to November 30, 1967. On September 13, 1967, the Union timely notified purpose. On October 18, 1967, the Respondent withdrew recognition, and on October 21 filed an RM petition which was dismissed on October 30.

Thereafter, not only did Respondent refuse to recognize or negotiate with the Union, on November 1 it notified its employees it would put into effect on December 1 a number of beneficial changes which would be announced later. On November 10,

Respondent announced that, effective December 1, employees would receive at least a 10-cent-per-mile wage increase, insurance improvements , and a bonus for a certain 'four-crew' operation. On November 17, Respondent announced that certain noneconomic conditions would become effective on December 1.

On December 1, these changes in wages and working conditions were placed into effect.

It is well settled that a certified union, upon expiration of the first year following its certification, enjoys a rebuttable presumption that its majority representative status continues.' This presumption is designed to promote stability in collective-bargaining relationships, without impairing the free choice of employees.: Accordingly, once the presumption is shown to be operative, a prima facie case is established that an employer is obligated to bargain and that its refusal to do so would be unlawful. The prima facie case may be rebutted if the employer affirmatively establishes either (1) that at the time of the refusal the union in fact no longer enjoyed majority representative status;3 or (2) that the employer's refusal was predicated on a good-faith and reasonably grounded doubt of the union's continued majority status. As to the second of these, i.e., 'good-faith doubt,' two prerequisites for sustaining the defense are that the asserted doubt must be based on objective considerations' and it 'must not have been raised in the context of illegal antiunion activities, or other conduct by the employer aimed at causing disaffection from the union or indicating that in ra...

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