Charles D. Bonanno Linen Serv., Inc. v. NLRB
454 U.S. 404 (1982)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Charles D. Bonanno Linen Serv., Inc. v. NLRB, 454 U.S. 404 (1982)

Charles D. Bonanno Linen Service, Inc. v. NLRB

No. 80-931

Argued October 13, 1981

Decided January 12, 1982

454 U.S. 404

Syllabus

Petitioner linen supply company was a member of an association formed to negotiate collective bargaining agreements with respondent truckdrivers' union as a multiemployer unit. When the association and union reached an impasse in bargaining for a proposed agreement, the union initiated a selective strike against petitioner, most of the other members of the association locked out their drivers, and petitioner hired permanent replacements for its striking drivers. Thereafter, petitioner notified the association and the union that it was withdrawing from the association, and refused to sign a collective bargaining agreement later executed by the union and the association. Meanwhile, the union filed the present action, alleging that petitioner's purported withdrawal from the bargaining unit constituted an unfair labor practice. The National Labor Relations Board (Board) affirmed the Administrative Law Judge's finding that no unusual circumstances excused such withdrawal, and ordered petitioner to sign and implement retroactively the agreement concluded between the union and the employers' association, the refusal to sign such agreement constituting an unfair labor practice in violation of §§ 8(a)(5) and (1) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The Court of Appeals enforced the Board's order.

Held: The bargaining impasse did not justify petitioner's unilateral withdrawal from the multiemployer bargaining unit. Pp. 454 U. S. 408-419.

(a) An impasse is not sufficiently destructive of group bargaining to justify such a withdrawal, but is only a temporary deadlock or hiatus in negotiations. Permitting a withdrawal at impasse would as a practical matter undermine the utility of multiemployer bargaining. While no interim or separate agreements were executed in this case, the impasse did not initiate any right to execute an agreement inconsistent with the duty to abide by the results of group bargaining. The balance the Board has struck is not inconsistent with the terms or purposes of the NLRA. Pp. 454 U. S. 412-417.

(b) Here, the Board has developed a rule which, although it may deny an employer a particular economic weapon, does so in the interest of the proper and preeminent goal of maintaining the stability of the multiemployer bargaining unit. Pp. 454 U. S. 417-419.

630 F.2d 25, affirmed.

Page 454 U. S. 405

WHITE, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BRENNAN, MARSHALL, BLACKMUN, and STEVENS, JJ., joined. STEVENS, J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 454 U. S. 419. BURGER, C.J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which REHNQUIST, J., joined, post, p. 454 U. S. 420. O'CONNOR, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which POWELL, J., joined, post, p. 454 U. S. 427.

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