Sarah Pawlicki


In 1998, the Supreme Court upheld the NLRB's unitary good-faith doubt standard in Allentown Mack v. NLRB for withdrawing recognition of an incumbent union, polling employees, or an employer petition for decertification. The Court's holding gave the NLRB broad deference as an administrative agency to develop its rules and standards. At the same time, the Court rebuked the NLRB for its use of the term "good-faith" when in fact, the NLRB required much more. In response, the NLRB issued its decision in Levitz Furniture Company. Levitz was the NLRB's opportunity to change the rule from Celanese, which for fifty years permitted employers to withdraw recognition of an incumbent union based upon a good-faith doubt of the union's continued majority status. Employers had relied upon this fifty-year-old precedent as the standard for a unilateral withdrawal of recognition. In one stroke of the pen, the NLRB overturned Celanese. However, arguably the rules had been changed long before, through the NLRB's interpretation of the standard of "good-faith" doubt. Through analysis of the development of the good-faith doubt standard and the Supreme Court's holding in Allentown Mack, an attempt is made to determine the future of an employer's unilateral withdrawal of recognition as affected by Levitz.

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