NLRB v. Shaw's Supermarkets, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals
1989

In the case, NLRB v. Shaw's Supermarkets, Inc., the main issue concerned a possible violation of the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRB attempted to force a new election for unionizing the company because it claimed Shaw's Supermarkets, Inc. had threatened its employees to not unionize. The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled as such:

"The National Labor Relations Board (the 'Board') found that Shaw's Supermarkets ('Shaw') violated National Labor Relations Act ('NLRA') § 8(a)(1), 29 U.S.C. § 158(a)(1), during a representation election held at Shaw's Wells, Maine distribution facility in January 1987. In the election, 71 votes were cast for no union, 46 votes for a Teamsters local, and one vote for an independent union. The finding of violation rested primarily upon the fact that five days before the election, a Shaw vice president told the employees at the plant:

'that if they were to turn their affairs over to a third party [i.e., a union] that the employees would be guaranteed minimum wages and workmen's comp[ensation] and that's where our collective-bargaining process would begin.'

The Board decided that this statement, taken in context, constituted a 'threat of reprisal' against collective organizing, a threat that NLRA §§ 8(a)(1) and 8(c) make illegal. The Board ordered a new election. The Board now asks us to enforce its order.

We have examined the Board's decisions in this case and in prior cases on this subject, however, and comparing those prior cases with the facts of the present case, we conclude that the Board's findings here are inconsistent with what it has held before. That is to say, past precedent would require the Board to find in the employer's favor here. Although the Board is not permanently bound by its precedent, when it wishes to deviate from well-established precedent as significantly as it has done here, it must, at least, explain the reasons for its deviation. Because the Board has not explained its inconsistent decision in this case, we shall not now enforce its order, but instead we shall remand this case to the Board."

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Chart or Graph

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Analysis Report White Paper

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Video/Podcast/Media

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Primary Document

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NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT

cited NLRA or the Act; 29 U.S.C. §§ 151-169

[Title 29, Chapter 7, Subchapter II, United States Code]


FINDINGS AND POLICIES

1.[§151.] The denial by some employers of the right of employees to organize and the refusal by some employers to accept the procedure of...

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