International Union, United Automobile Workers Of America v. NLRB

802 F.2d 969 (7th Cir. 1986)


P's collective bargaining agreement provided that in the event Lock (D) contemplates the relocation of any of its operations conducted at its present location Lock (D) agrees to discuss such relocation in advance and to negotiate with P concerning the effect of such relocation on employees. Lock (D) decided to move some of its manufacturing with the result that hundreds of workers lost their jobs. Lock (D) told P about the impending move but did not bargain over it; hence P levied an unfair labor practice charge against Lock (D). At the hearing before the ALJ P's witnesses testified that the negotiation clause had been included in order to make sure that P would have the first crack at organizing the workers at the new plant. P's witnesses denied there had been any discussion of waiving P's statutory right to bargain over plant relocations. Carter, who had negotiated the contract for Lock (D) and had drafted section 1.1(b), testified that in the negotiations he had told P that Lock (D) would not agree to any restriction on its right to relocate work and that the word 'discuss' had been used advisedly, and meant 'notify' rather than 'negotiate' or 'bargain.' The ALJ disbelieved Carter's testimony and held that Lock (D) committed an unfair labor practice. The Board held that the bargaining history (presumably P's failure to have requested bargaining over the previous relocations), in conjunction with the 'plain meaning' of the word 'discuss' when juxtaposed with 'negotiate' in section 1.1(b), demonstrated that P had waived the right to bargain. P appealed.