Hogan Lovells Wins Favorable NLRB Ruling on Behalf of Dana Corporation
10 December 2010
NEW YORK, 10 December 2010 – On 6 December the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled in favor of Hogan Lovells US LLP client, Dana Corporation (Dana), a global supplier of automotive parts, in one of the most important cases to come before the agency in years. In a two-to-one decision, the NLRB held that Dana had not violated the National Labor Relations Act (the Act) when it entered into a Letter of Agreement with the United Auto Workers (UAW), creating a framework for any future collective bargaining agreement if UAW were to become the representative of employees at a non-union Dana facility.
Dana's Letter of Agreement with UAW provided that it would be neutral in the face of union organizing at its non-union facilities. If UAW became the representative of the employees at a Dana facility, it would not strike if the parties could not reach a collective bargaining agreement, and the disputed issues would be submitted to arbitration. The Letter of Agreement also provided that certain conditions must be included in a collective bargaining agreement to allow the Dana facility to "have a reasonable opportunity to succeed and grow, " including competitive healthcare costs, minimum job classifications, team-based approaches, continuous improvement, flexible compensation, and mandatory overtime when necessary, among others.
The Act makes it unlawful for an employer to recognize a union as the representative of its employees if a majority of those employees have not selected the union to represent them. It is also unlawful for an employer to enter into a collective bargaining agreement with a union if the union does not represent the employer's employees. The NLRB majority held that the Letter of Agreement did not constitute unlawful recognition; rather the agreement provided "no more than a framework for future collective bargaining" if the UAW were able to achieve majority status at a Dana facility. It held that to find such agreements unlawful would discourage labor management cooperation in confronting the challenges of a global workplace.
The Dana case was hotly contested; amicus briefs were filed on both sides of the issue by, among others, the AFL-CIO, certain members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Associated Builders and Contractors, Cingular Wireless, Ford, GM, DaimlerChrysler, Liz Claiborne, and the Wackenhut Corporation.
The Hogan Lovells team representing the Dana Corporation included New York partner Stanley Brown and Washington, D.C. associate Emily Glendinning.