Vanderbilt Law Review

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Plant relocation--the transfer of all or a portion of plant operations to another site--can present two distinct categories of labor relations problems: (1) unfair labor practice problems under the National Labor Relations Act ("runaway shop" problems); and (2) problems of interpreting and applying a collective bargaining agreement.' While this note deals mainly with plant removal as an unfair labor practice, unionized employers must consider both problems carefully before embarking upon a relocation of operations. Miscalculations or ignorance of the consequences of certain relocation procedure can result in the imposition of liability sufficient to cause the employer to rue the day he decided to move. Likewise union counsel must be vigorous and watchful in protecting labor's rights--NLRA rights and contract rights--in the plant removal situation.The occasion for consideration of the plant removal problem is the recent case of Local 57, Garment Workers v. NLRB (Garwin Corp.), involving a corporate manufacturer which moved its plant from New York to Miami, Florida, for the primary purpose, as the Board found, of ridding itself of a vexatious labor union. On appeal, The first category, to which this note is primarily devoted, is within the exclusive the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied enforcement to that portion of the Board's order which directed the runaway employer to bargain with the aggrieved union on request at the Florida plant, without the usual requirement of a showing of majority support. The remainder of the order, directing back pay and an offer of reinstatement at the new plant, with travel and moving expenses to Florida provided, was enforced. While most of the interest in Garwin centers around the court's refusal to enforce the Board's novel remedy, the case is an appropriate vehicle for considering the broader problem of plant removal, with particular emphasis on the runaway shop.