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U.S. Supreme Court

Garment Workers v. Labor Board, 366 U.S. 731 (1961)

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, AFL-CIO v.

National Labor Relations Board

No. 284

Argued April 17, 1961

Decided June 5, 1961

366 U.S. 731


In the bona fide but mistaken belief that a majority of the employees in the appropriate bargaining unit had authorized petitioner union to represent their interests, the union and the employer entered into an agreement under which the employer recognized the union as the exclusive bargaining representative of certain of its employees, although, in fact, only a minority of those employees had authorized the union to represent their interests. The Nation Labor Relations Board found that, by extending such recognition, the employer interfered with the organizational rights of its employees in violation of § 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act and gave unlawful support to a labor organization in violation of § 8(a)(2), and that the union violated § 8(b)(1)(A) by its acceptance of exclusive bargaining authority. The Board ordered the unfair labor practices discontinued and directed the holding of a representation election. The Court of Appeals granted enforcement of the Board's order.

Held: the Board and the Court of Appeals correctly held that such extension and acceptance of recognition constituted unfair labor practices; the remedy provided was appropriate; and the judgment is affirmed. Pp. 366 U. S. 732-740.

(a) A different conclusion is not required by the fact that the union subsequently obtained authorization from a majority of the employees to represent their interests, since the earlier recognition of the minority union was a fait accompli depriving the majority of the employees of their guaranteed right to choose their own representative. P. 366 U. S. 736.

(b) The agreement was void in its entirety, and it cannot be held valid and enforcible as to those employees who consented to it. Pp. 366 U. S. 736-737.

(c) By granting exclusive bargaining status to a union selected by a minority of its employees, thereby impressing that union upon

Page 366 U. S. 732

the nonconsenting majority, the employer violated both § 8(a)(1) and § 8(a)(2). Pp. 366 U. S. 737-738.

(d) The employer's bona fide belief in the majority status of the union is no defense. Pp. 366 U. S. 738-739.

(e) The remedy provided by the Board's order was proper. Pp. 366 U. S. 739-740.

108 U.S.App.D.C. 68, 280 F.2d 616, affirmed.

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