Section 9 of the Act was included in order to facilitate collective bargaining.1 The problem of who was representing what unit, and of the definition of that unit, was anticipated, and the Act provided the machinery whereby disagreement or uncertainty could be dispelled by an impartial governmental agency.
Section 9 is in four parts: (a) provides that the majority of an appropriate unit selects the representative--that is, the majority- rule doctrine. (b) makes it the duty of the Board to determine the appropriate unit in each case. (c) provides the Board with power, whenever there is a question affecting commerce, to investigate and to certify designated representatives no matter whether unfair practices are involved. Authority is given the Board to use secret ballot or "any other suitable method" to ascertain the representatives. (d) provides that whenever a Board order arising out of an unfair practice is carried to the courts, any determination of representatives made by the Board becomes a part of the transcript of record.
It should be emphasized that Section 9(c) provides only for investigation, and a proceeding thereunder does not result from a complaint; hence no order issues. The section makes possible only an authoritative declaration of an existing factual situation, and such declaration is not reviewable in the courts except in conjunction with a proceeding involving unfair practices. When the Board acts under this subsection, it is not compelling the selection of a representative but rather is ascertaining whether a representative has been selected and designated. This function is important, for in the absence of a representative the employer has no duty to bargain collectively.____________________