Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen of North America, AFL-CIO v. National Labor Relations Board

PETITIONER: Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen of North America, AFL-CIO
RESPONDENT: National Labor Relations Board
LOCATION: Congress

DOCKET NO.: 40
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1956-1957)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

CITATION: 352 US 153 (1956)
ARGUED: Nov 14, 1956
DECIDED: Dec 10, 1956

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen of North America, AFL-CIO v. National Labor Relations Board

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 14, 1956 (Part 1) in Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen of North America, AFL-CIO v. National Labor Relations Board

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 14, 1956 (Part 2) in Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen of North America, AFL-CIO v. National Labor Relations Board

Earl Warren:

You may proceed Mr. Cammer.

Harold I. Cammer:

I would like to reserve my time if Your Honor please.

Earl Warren:

You may.

Mr. Kammholz.

Theophil C. Kammholz:

May it please the Court.

I should like to add one item to the factual statement as outlined by counsel for petitioner.

In 1954, following the Gold conviction, the Board issued in order to show cause as to why the union should not be decomplied.

The union responded to that proceeding by electing Gold to a new term of office in the union.

Thereupon, the Board did issue its decompliance order, and following that, the proceedings in the Court of Appeals here for the District of Columbia initially in the District Court were undertaken.

We submit that the basic question here presented was aptly summarized by the majority below in these words.

What purports to be an affidavit is now merely a piece of paper evidencing false swearing.

Certainly, this Court is not required to blindly accept the form and ignore the realities.

Considering the basic congressional intent with reference to 9 (h) requirements, the non-Communist affidavits, we think the -- the wisdom and the soundness of the decision below is amply demonstrated.

In the Highland Park case involving the basic question of non-Communist affidavits passed on here in 1951, this Court said this, "To grant benefits to a union, one of whose officers is an undenied Communist, certainly frustrates the congressional purpose to 'wholly' eradicate and bar from leadership in the American labor movement at each and every level adherence to the Communist Party and believers in the unconstitutional overthrow of our Government."

Now, we take the position that the legislative history of the Act with particular reference to 9 (h) does not negate the power of the Board to decomply in circumstances such as are presented in this case or to put it another way, does not prevent the Board from protecting its processes from abuse.

The reference to Senator Taft's statement by counsel read in context, I think, relates to the threshold inquiry which both the Senate and the House bill initially contemplated.

In other words, a requirement that in each instance the Board looked into the compliance status of the union before it might declare union incompliance.

In conference, that requirement was eliminated and we submit that congressional thought on that subject is unrelated to the problem here presented which is one of protection of the Board's processes from abuse under related circumstances.

In 1953, a Senate subcommittee --

Stanley Reed:

What do you -- what do you mean with saying under submission on the initial compliance if the Board was to look to see whether the -- the paper has been signed?

Theophil C. Kammholz:

Initially, both the Senate and the House bill in 1947 would have required the Board in each instance to conduct the hearing and to determine whether or no, the -- the officers in fact were properly in compliance within the meaning of the statute.

That requirement was deleted.

In place of it, was substituted this provision for the filing of an affidavit by the officers of the union with the -- with the compliance flowing therefrom if properly filed.

Significant in this connection is the fact that the --

Stanley Reed:

Taft stated farther that this is supported by your opponent and said this will be left to punishment by criminal proceeding?

Theophil C. Kammholz:

Yes, I think it can be read, Your Honor, as going farther, but I don't think it necessarily cuts the ground out from under the position that we're asserting here.

Stanley Reed:

Well, perhaps not, but I -- I don't think the fact that it was a different form of bill would make any difference, would it?

Because this was a question of how the compliance would be shown from the start.

It was said if they haven't been any compliance, reads like a false affidavit will be punished only by criminal proceedings.

Theophil C. Kammholz:

But the statement did not go on to say that no other -- that no other results might derive therefrom.