« Vacancy on Supreme Court 2016 - "Slaughter named new state justice: Replaces 30-year veteran on bench" | Main | Ind. Decisions - "Fake lawyer gets 30 days in jail" »

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides one Indiana case yesterday, re an NLRB order

In Polycon Industries, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board (Petition for Review and Cross-Application for Enforcement of an Order of the NLRB), a 5-page opinion, Judge Posner writes:

Polycon Industries, of Merrillville Indiana (a town in the northwestern corner of the state), is a manufacturer of plastic bottles and containers. Steven A. Johnson, a lawyer in the town, represented Polycon in collective bargaining with a Teamsters local (Teamsters Local Union No. 142) and in the ensuing litigation now before us; Polycon’s brief describes Johnson as “Polycon’s representative.” In a decision reported at 363 N.L.R.B. No. 31 (Oct. 29, 2015), the National Labor Relations Board determined that the company had violated sections 8(a)(1) and (5) of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 158(a)(1), (5), which prohibit unfair labor practices in interstate commerce, by re-fusing to sign a collective bargaining agreement after agreeing to its terms. * * *

And so the Board, in the order before us that Polycon challenges, has directed Polycon to sign the agreement and comply with its terms until it expires. The order is so clearly correct that Polycon’s challenge borders on the frivolous. As the Supreme Court said in H.J. Heinz Co. v. NLRB, supra, 311 U.S. at 526, an employer’s “refusal to honor, with his signature, the agreement which he has made with a labor organization, discredits the organization, impairs the bargaining process and tends to frustrate the aim of the statute to secure industrial peace through collective bargaining.”

Attorney Johnson insists that not his but Polycon’s approval of the new language was required before the parties could be deemed to have approved it. But he provides no evidence, his own or Polycon’s, that he hadn’t been authorized to speak for the company when he told the union that the suggested addition was fine. Polycon could have asked for correction of any material mistakes before signing the contract but could not refuse to review and sign it because of the mere possibility that it contained a mistake. The Board’s order is ENFORCED.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 10, 2016 09:27 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions