John Deklewa & Sons, Inc
In John Deklewa & Sons, Inc., 282 NLRB 1375 (1987), the Board abandoned R.J. Smith and the conversion doctrine, concluding that this analytical framework did "not fully square with either NLRA 8(f)'s legislative history" or text, "inadequately served the fundamental statutory objectives of employee free choice and labor relations stability," id. at 1380, and "entailed evidentiary determinations that are inexact, impractical, and generally insufficient to support the conclusions they purport to demonstrate." Id. at 1384.
In its place, the Board established a new framework for 8(f) relationships. The Board declared that an 8(f) agreement is binding and enforceable during the duration of the contract, and cannot be unilaterally repudiated by either party to the agreement, id. at 1385, but that, upon the contract's expiration, the signatory union will not enjoy a presumption of majority and either party may repudiate the 8(f) relationship, id. at 1386.
Most significantly for our purposes today, the Board also announced that 8(f) representatives would no longer be able to establish "conversion" to 9(a) status except by means of a Board-certified election, id. at 1383-85, or voluntary recognition based upon a clear showing of majority support. Id. at 1387 n. 53.
In Deklewa, the Board not only recognized the unreliability of union membership as a proxy for union support where a security clause is in effect, but in fact based its decision to abandon the conversion doctrine in part on the "highly questionable" nature of just such an inference. Deklewa, 282 NLRB at 1384.