National Labor Relations Board v. Burns Int'l Security Services

406 U.S. 272 (1972)

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National Labor Relations Board v. Burns Int'l Security Services

United States Supreme Court
406 U.S. 272 (1972)

Facts

Lockheed Aircraft Service Co. (Lockheed) used Wackenhut Corp. for plant-protection services. In an election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board (the board), a majority of Wackenhut’s 42 security guards voted for the United Plant Guard Workers of America (the union) (plaintiff) as their exclusive bargaining representative. Wackenhut and the union entered a three-year collective-bargaining agreement. Within a few months of the election, Lockheed decided to switch from Wackenhut to Burns International Security Services, Inc. (Burns) (defendant) for security services. Burns was informed in advance about the recent election, union, and labor contract. Burns chose to retain 27 of the Wackenhut guards and use 15 guards from other Burns locations. Burns provided the Wackenhut guards with membership cards of a rival union, American Federation of Guards (AFG), which represented Burns’s guards in other locations, and told Wackenhut guards that they must become AFG members to work for Burns. Thereafter, Burns recognized AFG as the bargaining representative of Burns’s employees at Lockheed and refused to bargain with the union or recognize the union’s contract with Wackenhut. The union filed unfair-labor-practice charges with the board. The board found that Burns had unlawfully recognized AFG and was required to bargain with the union and honor the union’s contract. Burns appealed, and the matter came before the Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

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