NLRB V. BURNS INT'L SECURITY SVCS., INC., 406 U. S. 272 (1972)

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U.S. Supreme Court

NLRB v. Burns Int'l Security Svcs., Inc., 406 U.S. 272 (1972)

National Labor Relations Board v.

Burns International Security Services, Inc.

No. 71-123

Argued January 13, 1972

Decided May 15, 1972*

406 U.S. 272


Wackenhut Corp., a company that had provided plant protection service for a Lockheed Aircraft Service Co. factory, had entered into a collective bargaining agreement with the United Plant Guard Workers (UPG), the union certified by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) as the representative of a majority of Wackenhut guards at the plant after an NLRB election. A few months later, Wackenhut's service contract expired, and it was succeeded by Burns International Security Services, which knew of the collective bargaining agreement. Burns employed 27 of the 42 Wackenhut guards, but refused to recognize UPG or to honor the agreement, and denied any obligation to bargain with UPG. The NLRB found that Burns violated §§ 8(a)(5) and 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act by failing to recognize and bargain with UPG and by refusing to honor the collective bargaining agreement, and ordered Burns to abide by the terms of the agreement and to

"give retroactive effect to all the clauses of said [Wackenhut] contract and, with interest of 6 percent, make whole its employees for any losses suffered by reason of Respondent's [Burns'] refusal to honor, adopt and enforce said contract."

The Court of Appeals held that the NLRB had exceeded its powers in ordering Burns to honor the contract executed by Wackenhut


1. Where the bargaining unit remained unchanged and a majority of the employees hired by the new employer were represented by a recently certified bargaining agent, the NLRB correctly implemented the express mandates of §§ 8(a)(5) and 9(a) of the Act by ordering the new employer, Burns, to bargain with the incumbent union, UPG. Pp. 406 U. S. 277-281.

Page 406 U. S. 273

2. While successor employers may be bound to recognize and bargain with the incumbent union, they are not bound by the substantive provisions of a collective bargaining agreement negotiated by their predecessors but not agreed to or assumed by them. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. v. Livingston, 376 U. S. 543, distinguished. Pp. 406 U. S. 281-291.

3. The NLRB's order for monetary restitution to Burns' employees cannot be sustained on the ground that Burns committed an unfair labor practice by unilaterally changing existing terms and conditions of employment. Burns had no previous relationship to the unit and no outstanding terms and conditions of employment, so that Burns did not change its terms and conditions of employment when it specified the initial basis on which it would hire employees when it inaugurated its protection service at the plant. Pp. 406 U. S. 292-296.

441 F.2d 911, affirmed.

WHITE, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court in No. 71-123, and for the Court in No. 71-198, in which DOUGLAS, STEWART, MARSHALL, and BLACKMUN, JJ., joined. REHNQUIST, J., filed an opinion concurring in No. 71-123 and dissenting in No. 71198, in which BURGER, C.J.,and BRENNAN and POWELL. JJ., joined, post, p. 406 U. S. 296.

Page 406 U. S. 274

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