In a pair of decisions issued on August 30, which have already been touted as victories for unions, the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") restored the "successor bar" and "voluntary recognition bar" doctrines and defined "reasonable period of bargaining" in each of these two situations.
In UGL-UNICCO Service Company, the NLRB overturned MV Transportation, a 2002 decision which held that a union in a successor employer situation is only entitled to a rebuttable presumption of majority support and the incumbent union's majority status could be challenged by way of a decertification petition or a petition by a rival union. In doing so, the NLRB restored the "successor bar" doctrine which requires that when a successor employer acts in accordance with its legal obligation to recognize an incumbent union, the incumbent union is entitled to represent employees in collective bargaining with their new employer for a reasonable period of time after a business transition, without challenge to its majority status. The NLRB modified the pre-MV Transportation "successor bar" doctrine, however, by defining the amount of time that would be considered a "reasonable period" as no less than six months, but no more than one year.
In Lamons Gasket Company, the NLRB overturned the 2007 decision in Dana Corp., which allowed for immediate challenges to the representative status of a union following voluntary recognition by an employer. In overturning Dana Corp., the NLRB returned to the "previously well-established rule" that an employer's voluntary recognition of a union, based on a showing of an uncoerced majority of employees, bars an election petition for a reasonable period of time. The NLRB further defined a "reasonable period of time" as no less than six months after the parties' first bargaining session and no more than one year.