Washington Law Review


In carrying out its statutory responsibility to determine whether a unit of craft employees, rather than a broader unit, is appropriate for purposes of collective bargaining, the National Labor Relations Board (hereinafter referred to as the Board) ordinarily must strike a balance between sharply conflicting interests. One or more groups of specially skilled workmen will desire to be disassociated from other employees in order to obtain relatively superior terms and conditions of employment. The employer will probably oppose separate representation for the specialists, believing it not conducive to stable labor relations. And often an incumbent union, which has represented the specialists as well as other employees, will oppose its craft rival in order to maintain its bargaining strength, membership, and jurisdiction. In American Potash & Chem. Corp., the Board ruled that craftsmen may be represented separately from a broader bargaining unit "where a true craft group is sought and where, in addition, the union seeking to represent it is one which traditionally represents that craft." This general rule is presently applied to permit separate craft representation in all but four so-called "integrated industries": the "basic steel" industry, the wet-milling industry, the lumber industry, and the aluminum industry.

First Page