Majority Rule, Exclusive Representation, and the Interests of Individual Workers: Should Exclusivity Be Abandoned?
Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 123, p. 897, 1975
Under the Taft-Hartley Act, the National Labor Relations Board is authorized to conduct elections among groups of employees to determine whether a union, by obtaining a majority vote, shall be the exclusive representative of any given group of employees for the purposes of collective bargaining with their employer. In addition, the Act has been interpreted to permit, or even require, an employer to recognize a union as the exclusive bargaining representative of a group of its employees without an election if it is established, first, that the union was selected by a majority of those employees to be represented, and second, that the employer's antiunion conduct made a fair election improbable. Since the Act only requires a majority, and not unanimity, the Board is not charged to determine what each individual employee believes or desires to be the appropriate unit; and the Board does not consult the employees or attempt to ascertain their wishes. Rather, the Board looks to many “objective” factors in any given case to make the determination. The union not only negotiates collective bargaining contracts on behalf of the employees who opposed it, but is also the exclusive agent of those opposition employees in settling their individual grievances with the employer. The purposes of this Article are, first, to explore the apparent consequences of the doctrine of exclusive representation, and second, to ask whether the federal labor laws would do better by abandoning the doctrine.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 42
Keywords: labor union, Taft-Hartley Act, exclusive representationAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: July 9, 2009
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