Auciello Iron Works, Inc. v. NLRB, 517 U.S. 781, 11 (1996)

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Cite as: 517 U. S. 781 (1996)

Opinion of the Court


Merits aside, Auciello also claims that the precedent of Garment Workers v. NLRB, 366 U. S. 731 (1961), compels reversal, but it does not. In Garment Workers, we held that a bona fide but mistaken belief in a union's majority status cannot support an employer's agreement purporting to recognize a union newly organized but as yet uncertified. We upheld the Board's rule out of concern that an employer and a union could make a deal giving the union " 'a marked advantage over any other [union] in securing the adherence of employees,' " id., at 738 (quoting NLRB v. Pennsylvania Greyhound Lines, Inc., 303 U. S. 261, 267 (1938)), thereby distorting the process by which employees elect the bargaining agent of their choice. 366 U. S., at 738-739. Here, in contrast, the Union continued to enjoy a rebuttable presumption of majority support, and the bargaining unit employees had ample opportunity to initiate decertification of the Union but apparently chose not to do so. With entire consistency, the Board may deny employers the power gained from recognizing a union, even when it flows from a good-faith but mistaken belief in a newly organized union's majority status, and at the same time deny them the power to disturb collective-bargaining agreements based on a doubt (without more) that its employees' bargaining agent has retained majority status. Good-faith belief can neither force a union's precipitate recognition nor destroy a recognized union's contracting authority after the fact by intentional delay. There is, indeed, a symmetry in the two positions.

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We hold that the Board reasonably found an employer's precontractual, good-faith doubt inadequate to support an exception to the conclusive presumption arising at the moment a collective-bargaining contract offer has been ac-


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