November 30, 2020

Volume X, Number 335


Airplane Parts Maker Grounded for Unlawfully Withdrawing Recognition of Union

The D.C. Circuit Court recently upheld the National Labor Relations Board’s determination that a Pennsylvania airplane parts maker violated the National Labor Relations Act by unilaterally withdrawing recognition from a union without objective evidence demonstrating that the union lost the support of a majority of workers. 

Wyman Gordon Pennsylvania, LLC (WGP), a manufacturer of aircraft engine components, received a petition to decertify the union from a lawyer from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. The petition was signed by 23 of the 43 employees in the bargaining unit. However, the document consisted of only five unnumbered pages, with the first and last pages containing the statement that the “undersigned employees of [WGP] do not want to be represented by [the Union].” The first and last page of the document only contained nine signatures, while the middle three pages that lacked the decertification language contained 14 signatures. In reliance on that petition, WGP unilaterally withdrew recognition from the union. 

The D.C. Circuit Court determined that the NLRB’s conclusion that the petition did not pass “evidentiary muster” was supported by substantial evidence. Important to the court was the fact that only nine employee signatures appeared on the first and last pages of the petition, which included the decertification language. The other 14 signatures were, according to the court, “strewn in a haphazard manner across three pages that were just a collection of lines without any information explaining what the document was.” Given the disjoined collection of signatures, the court determined that the Board’s conclusion that there was no objective evidence of the employees’ intent to withdraw from the union was reasonable.

The ruling is a reminder that an employer withdraws recognition of a union at its peril, and will have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the union had, in fact, lost majority support at the time the employer withdrew recognition.

© 2020 BARNES & THORNBURG LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 325



About this Author

Frank T. Mamat Labor Relations Lawyer Barnes and Thornburg
Attorney in Charge

A range of entities, from the United Nations to small, two-person businesses, along with construction companies, and trade and business associations – come to Frank because of his nearly 45 years of deep experience helping companies, contractors and employers with their complex labor and union matters.

Through the years, Frank has successfully counseled clients on virtually every type of labor matter. He also helped the Michigan Senate in 2012 prepare Michigan's "Right to Work" law.

In particular, he provides counsel...


Alex focuses his practice on assisting employers facing various employment litigation issues in federal and state courts. Specifically, he counsels and represents employers in a range of actions involving harassment, retaliation, discrimination, wrongful termination, and wage and hour claims.

He understands the nuances of helping clients document and present a strong case. His litigation experience includes serving as, while with a Michigan law firm, a special assistant attorney general representing the Michigan Department of Transportation in various litigation proceedings. For...