Auciello Iron Works, Inc. v. NLRB, 517 U.S. 781, 6 (1996)

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Opinion of the Court

precondition for service as its exclusive representative. Cf. id., at 37-39. The first two are conclusive presumptions. A union "usually is entitled to a conclusive presumption of majority status for one year following" Board certification as such a representative. Id., at 37. A union is likewise entitled under Board precedent to a conclusive 3 presumption of majority status during the term of any collective-bargaining agreement, up to three years. See NLRB v. Burns Int'l Security Services, Inc., 406 U. S. 272, 290, n. 12 (1972); see generally R. Gorman, Basic Text on Labor Law: Unionization and Collective Bargaining 9, pp. 54-59 (1976). "These presumptions are based not so much on an absolute certainty that the union's majority status will not erode," Fall River Dyeing, 482 U. S., at 38, as on the need to achieve "stability in collective-bargaining relationships." Ibid. (internal quotation marks omitted). They address our fickle nature by "enabl[ing] a union to concentrate on obtaining and fairly administering a collective-bargaining agreement" without worrying about the immediate risk of decertification and by "remov[ing] any temptation on the part of the employer to avoid good-faith bargaining" in an effort to undermine union support. Ibid.

There is a third presumption, though not a conclusive one. At the end of the certification year or upon expiration of the collective-bargaining agreement, the presumption of majority status becomes a rebuttable one. See NLRB v. Curtin Matheson Scientific, Inc., 494 U. S. 775, 778 (1990); see n. 6, infra. Then, an employer may overcome the presumption (when, for example, defending against an unfair labor practice charge) "by showing that, at the time of [its] refusal to bargain, either (1) the union did not in fact enjoy majority

3 This presumption may be overcome only in unusual circumstances, see, e. g., Brooks v. NLRB, 348 U. S. 96, 98-99 (1954) (union dissolution, inter alia); 3 T. Kheel, Labor Law 13A.04[5], p. 13A-26 (1995); R. Gorman, Basic Text on Labor Law: Unionization and Collective Bargaining 9, pp. 56-57 (1976), none of which is present here.

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