WASHINGTON (Aug. 31, 2011)—The National Labor Relations Board has ruled in favor of the United Steelworkers union in its collective bargaining dispute against Lamons Gasket Co., a decision the National Association of Manufacturers denounced as disruptive of both the workplace and job creation.
On Nov. 5, 2009, after a majority of employees signed authorization cards, Lamons Gasket voluntarily recognized the USW as the sole representative of a unit of workers at the Lamons facility in Houston, the NLRB said.
On Dec. 9, 2009, a Lamons employee applied for decertification, supported by at least 30 percent of the unit. Under the board's 2007 decision in a case involving Dana Corp., workers may call for a new union election if at least 30 percent file a decertification petition within 45 days of management recognizing the union.
The USW appealed, and on Aug. 26, 2011, the NLRB ruled 4-1 in the union's favor.
Between 1966 and 2007, the board always held that an employer's voluntary recognition of a union barred the processing of a decertification petition for “a reasonable period of time.” The Dana Corp. decision changed that formula, but the majority of the board in the Lamons case reversed that change.
“We find that the approach taken in Dana was flawed, factually, legally, and as a matter of policy,” the majority ruled. “Accordingly, we overrule Dana and return to the previously well-established rule.”
The majority also defined benchmarks for determining “a reasonable period of time.”
In a press release, the NAM accused the current NLRB of being anti-business.
“The NLRB has been pursuing an aggressive agenda that will harm our economic growth at a time when manufacturers should be leading the economic recovery,” the association said. “The agency is trying to dictate the way businesses operate, where they operate and how they interact with their employees.”
Lamons manufactures elastomeric, metallic and fiber gaskets for a variety of industries.