Labor Law – Collective Bargaining – Union’s Unprotected Harassing Activites as a Refusal to Bargain in Good Faith

While bargaining for a new contract, the union announced that it would engage in a “work-without-contract” program designed to harass the insurance company employer into accepting its demands, in the event that no agreement was reached prior to the expiration of the existing contract. When that contingency occurred, the program was instituted consisting of such activities as refusing to write new business for a period, refusing to do customary duties, engaging in “sit-in mornings,” soliciting policyholder support against the company, and mass demonstrations at the company’s home office. The union continued to attend bargaining sessions, but it informed its members in a directive that” … a satisfactory contract will be won in the field and not at the bargaining table.” The company thereupon charged the union with a refusal to bargain in good faith in violation of section 8 (b) (3) of the Taft-Hartley amendment. The National Labor Relations Board rejected the Trial Examiner’s recommendation to dismiss and entered a cease and desist order against the union. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously refused to enforce the order. On certiorari to the Supreme Court, held, affirmed, three justices dissenting. Where a union’s conduct at the bargaining table is in apparent good faith, its concurrent use of extrinsic economic weapons to force acceptance of its demands is not inconsistent with good faith bargaining. NLRB v. Insurance Agents’ lnternational Union, AFL-CIO, (U.S. 1960) 80 S.Ct. 419.