Auciello Iron Works, Inc. v. NLRB, 517 U.S. 781, 4 (1996)

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784

AUCIELLO IRON WORKS, INC. v. NLRB

Opinion of the Court

line, that 13 employees had given it signed forms indicating their resignation from the Union, and that 16 had expressed dissatisfaction with the Union.

In January 1989, the Board's General Counsel issued an administrative complaint charging Auciello with violation of 8(a)(1) and (5) of the NLRA.1 An Administrative Law Judge found that a contract existed between the parties and that Auciello's withdrawal from it violated the Act. 303 N. L. R. B. 562 (1991). The Board affirmed the Administrative Law Judge's decision 2; it treated Auciello's claim of

1 Section 8(a) of the NLRA provides: "It shall be an unfair labor practice for an employer— "(1) to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in section 157 of this title;

. . . . . "(5) to refuse to bargain collectively with the representatives of his employees, subject to the provisions of section 159(a) of this title." 29 U. S. C. 158(a).

Section 7 of the Act provides: "Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or

assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all of such activities except to the extent that such right may be affected by an agreement requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment as authorized in section 158(a)(3) of this title." 29 U. S. C. 157.

2 The Board has developed a number of criteria to assess whether a collective-bargaining contract has been formed, see, e. g., Appalachian Shale Products Co., 121 N. L. R. B. 1160 (1958), which may not always coincide with those that would govern in the general area of contract law, see Ben Franklin Nat. Bank, 278 N. L. R. B. 986, 993-994 (1986). We accept for purposes of deciding this case the Board's conclusion that a contract was formed here within the meaning of the Act. Our review of this case is thus limited to the narrow question whether an employer may withdraw from a collective-bargaining contract once formed when it possessed enough evidence to assert a good-faith doubt about the union's majority status at the time of formation.

Auciello has suggested that the contract itself was invalid ab initio because the Union in fact lacked majority support at the time of accept-

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