File 2: Opinion of Member Segal

[ v56 p150 ]


Member Segal concurring:

      I join the majority decision in this case because it is clear that, under Authority precedent applying the Montrose doctrine, the Regional Director reached the correct conclusion. This precedent was initially developed over 25 years ago by the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Labor-Management Relations, under the program that preceded enactment of the Statute. See Executive Order 11491, as amended, Section 6. The Authority has consistently applied the Montrose doctrine in situations where a local union seeks to disaffiliate from a national union, without any suggestion that the local must notify the national of that intention. See Majority Opinion at 11-12. The Montrose doctrine, which was developed "to assure that . . . any change in affiliation accurately reflects the desires of the membership and that no question concerning representation exists," does not appear to preclude such notice. See Montrose, 4 A/SLMR at 860. At the same time, however, it has not been interpreted to require it.

      The petitioner squarely requests that the Authority revisit this precedent, asserting solely that the Montrose doctrine was developed in connection with a "friendly" disaffiliation and should not be applied to one involving "adversarial entities." NFFE Brief at 7. I disagree with my concurring colleague's unexplained rejection of the petitioner's request. In my view, the Authority should grant the request and should reconsider the precedent. On this point, therefore, I agree with the dissent. Although the Montrose doctrine has been applied without regard to whether or not the proceedings were adversarial, it is not evident that the Authority has ever considered questions concerning its application in adversarial proceedings. It may well be that modification of the doctrine in such circumstances is in order.

      However, I believe such reconsideration of the Montrose doctrine should be conducted with the involvement of the participants in the Federal labor-relations program who will be affected by any departure from such long-established precedent. The doctrine governs whether and how the exclusive representative of all bargaining unit members can be changed by a vote conducted among union members only. Changes in the doctrine, which is grounded almost exclusively in policy judgments rather than statutory construction, are likely to have major consequences for all participants in the Federal labor-relations program -- unions, agencies, and employees alike. For these reasons, I decline to redraw settled lines without seeking and giving due consideration to the views of those who will be affected by any new rules adopted.

      It is certainly tr