Company must sign collective bargaining agreement

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals enforced a decision from the National Labor Relations Board that Merrillville's Polycon Industries must abide by a collective bargaining agreement it made with a Teamsters union after it had agreed to the terms.

Polycon began negotiating a collective bargaining agreement with Teamsters Local Union No. 142 in October 2010, and had mostly agreed on terms by 2013. However, Polycon attorney Steven Johnson asked a clause requiring employees to be part of a union be changed to conform with Ind. Code 22-6-6-8, the Right-to-Work law, which was passed the year before. After the change, Johnson told the union that the new language in the agreement was fine and asked it to send him a complete final version of the agreement, which he would review and send to the client for signing.

However, Johnson replied two days later that the company would not sign because employees of Polycon were circulating a petition to decertify the union as their collective bargaining representative.

Circuit Court Judge Richard Posner said that reply violated the National Labor Relations Act, because once Johnson said the agreement was fine, they were obligated to execute the agreement. Polycon argues there was no meeting of the minds, but Posner wrote there was no law cited to the NLRB, and state contract law is not applicable anyway.

The board ordered Polycon to sign the agreement, and Posner agreed. “The order is so clearly correct that Polycon’s challenge boarders on the frivolous,” Posner wrote.

The case is Polycon Industries Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, 15-3675, 15-3859.


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