The National Labor Relations Act was passed, as it declares in its first section, to encourage "the practice and procedure of collective bargaining'' and to give workers freedom to designate "representatives of their own choosing, for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment"; and the last of the unfair labor practices named in section 8 is for an employer "to refuse to bargain collectively." Bargaining and negotiating, the National Labor Relations Board has repeatedly declared, must be done in good faith. Discussion is not true negotiation or bargaining. For the employer to bargain in good faith he must intend to reach agreement; and be ready to have such agreement embodied in a writing signed by the parties. A signed contract is then the end-all of the process, so far as the National Labor Relations Act is concerned; for regarding the observance of contracts the National Labor Relations Board, to which the act entrusts the application of its standards, has no responsibility." It is "the practice and procedure of collective bargaining" that is the board's concern. The formation of the contract is the culmination of collective bargaining. At that point the legislative process in labor relations is over, and the executive process of application and interpretation begins.
William G. Rice Jr.,
THE LEGAL SIGNIFICANCE OF LABOR CONTRACTS UNDER THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol37/iss5/2