Monday, May 12, 2008

Agreements Not To Organize

As discussed at Workplace Prof Blog and Debris, the Wall Street Journal has reported on an agreement between SEIU and UNITE HERE on the one hand and two employers on the other that the unions won't seek to represent certain groups of those employers' employees. SEIU and UNITE HERE currently represent some of those employers' other employees.

The Board has given effect to an agreement not to organize a group of workers if "the promise be express, for a reasonable period of time and the result of bargaining between equals." Lexington House, 328 NLRB 894, 897 (1999) (citing Briggs Indiana Corp., 63 NLRB 1270 (1945). In Lexington House, the Board refused to process an RC petition where the petitioning union had promised the employer that it would not seek to represent the petitioned-for unit for 12 months. The Board found that the agreement's restriction was not contrary to the Act's policies.

It would be interesting to know what SEIU and UNITE HERE received in return for their promise. Increased wages for the currently represented groups? Better health care? Increased access to still other groups of unrepresented employees? It would also be interesting to know whether the unions had had any interest in organizing or plans to organize the off-limits group. I don't subscribe to the WSL, so can't access the full article.