U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Collective Bargaining Agreements
Right to Bargain — Waiver
Rochester Gas & Elec. Corp. v. Nat’l Labor Relations Bd.
Judges Cabranes, Straub and Livingston
Background: Both the union and Rochester Gas & Electric sought review of a decision by the defendant finding that RGE had engaged in unfair labor practices when it refused to bargain over the effects of its decision to discontinue its policy of permitting Union members to take company vehicles home at night. RGE argued that the union waived its right to bargain over the vehicle policy in the parties’ collective bargaining agreement. The union argued that the CBA required that the company bargain over both the decision and its effects. The union further argued that the NRLB’s remedy was insufficient to make the affected workers whole.
Ruling: The Second Circuit denied both petitions for review. The court found that the CBA allowed RGE to make changes in its employee work practices and to control the use of company property. However, those provisions did not clearly and unmistakably allow the company to forgo any negotiation with the union over the effects of the disputed policy. Further, the CBA did not unmistakably waive the union’s right to bargain over the effects of the policy.
James R. LaVaute of Blitman & King for the petitioner Local Union 36, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO; James S. Gleason of Hinman, Howard & Kattell for the petitioner-cross-respondent Rochester Gas & Electric Corp.; Robert Englehart of the National Labor Relations Board for the respondent-cross-petitioner