AGC Asks NLRB to Rescind or Modify Contract Bar Doctrine

October 15, 2020

AGC of America, jointly with nine other associations that are members of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (“CDW”), submitted an amicus brief to the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) in a case reviewing the contract bar doctrine on October 8.  The contract bar doctrine precludes a union representation or decertification election during the term of a legitimate collective bargaining agreement, up to a three-year term.  The NLRB invited amicus briefs in the Mountaire Farms case to provide input as to whether the Board should rescind the contract bar doctrine, retain it as it currently exists, or retain it with modifications. 

The AGC-supported brief argues that the Board should rescind the doctrine or at least modify it. The brief asserts that the doctrine is no longer needed to achieve labor relations stability and that, in its present version, the doctrine “seriously impairs employee freedom of choice in a manner contrary to the [National Labor Relations Act].”  Consequently, the brief requests that (1) the Board rescind the contract bar entirely, or, (2) if the Board chooses to retain the doctrine, then it shorten the bar period to one year and lengthen the decertification filing window up to six months before contract expiration and 60 days following successor contract ratification.

The contract bar doctrine applies only to 9(a) agreements, not to 8(f) agreements.  Contracts signed under Section 8(f) of the Act, where there has been no showing of majority status by the union, do not prevent the filing of representation or decertification petitions.  (For information about the difference between 9(a) and 8(f) collective bargaining agreements, visit AGC’s Labor & HR Topical Resources library and select “Collective Bargaining” as the main category and “Collective Bargaining Agreements:  8(f) vs. 9(a)” as the subcategory.  You must be logged in as an AGC member to access the materials.)

AGC will continue to monitor the case.  The timing for a decision is unknown.

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