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Johnson-Bateman Co. v. International Association of Machinists
National Labor Relations Board
295 N.L.R.B. 180 (1989)
The collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between Johnson-Bateman Company (defendant) and the International Association of Machinists (plaintiff) contained broad management-rights and zipper clauses. The management-rights clause allowed the company to make new rules unilaterally, reserved the right to discharge employees for cause, and reserved all rights not “specifically and clearly abridged by the [CBA’s] express provision[s].” The zipper clauses waived the right to bargaining over any matter the CBA did not address. In 1983, the parties arbitrated over a new unilateral rule requiring employees to give advance written notice explaining reasons for not working overtime. The arbitrator found the new rule consistent with a reasonable refinement of a CBA provision that said employees would not unreasonably refuse to work overtime. When the company unilaterally adopted a new rule that it could fire employees for drinking alcohol at work, the union did not object. But when the company unilaterally adopted a new rule requiring alcohol and drug testing of employees injured on the job who required medical treatment, the union filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The union argued the issue required bargaining because the parties never discussed it during CBA negotiations. The company countered that the parties never said the management-rights clause could not be used for such testing and argued the CBA allowed the rule because the discharge clause defined just cause to include alcohol or drug use on the job.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning
Dissent (Johansen, Member)
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