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U.S. Supreme Court

Labor Board v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 380 U.S. 438 (1965)

National Labor Relations Board v.

Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.

No. 98

Argued January 21, 1965

Decided April 5, 1965

380 U.S. 438


A union, over the protest of respondent company, was certified by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) under § 9(c) of the National Labor Relations Act as the bargaining representative of all debit insurance agents at respondent's district office in Woonsocket, R.I. Following respondent's refusal to bargain with the certified unit, the union filed unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB, which, adhering to its determination, directed respondent to bargain with the union. The Court of Appeals refused to enforce the NLRB order, having concluded that, contrary to § 9(c)(5), the NLRB had regarded as controlling the extent to which the employees had organized. This conclusion was based on the NLRB's failure to articulate reasons for the unit determination in this case; its apparently inconsistent determinations of appropriate units of respondent's employees in other areas; its failure to evaluate the factor there of the extent of union organization; and its consistent certification of the unit requested by the union.


1. Under § 9(e)(5), the extent of union organization may be considered as one factor, but not as the controlling factor, in determining the appropriate bargaining unit. Pp. 380 U. S. 441-442.

2. The considerations relied upon by the Court of Appeals did not compel the conclusion that the NLRB had violated § 9(c)(5) . P. 380 U. S. 442.

3. The NLRB has, however, failed to articulate reasons for decision in, and distinctions among, this and other cases in this area. Pp. 380 U. S. 442-443.

4. The integrity of the administrative process requires that courts may not accept appellate counsel's post hoc rationalizations for agency action. Pp. 380 U. S. 443-444.

5. Because of the failure of the NLRB to state the basis of its decision in this and other cases in this area, its action cannot be properly reviewed, and thus the judgment of the Court of Appeals

Page 380 U. S. 439

must be vacated, and the case remanded to that court with instructions to remand it to the NLRB. P. 380 U. S. 444.

327 F.2d 906 vacated and remanded.

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