Central Hardware Company v. National Labor Relations Board

PETITIONER: Central Hardware Company
RESPONDENT: National Labor Relations Board
LOCATION: Bay Marchand Area

DOCKET NO.: 70-223
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

CITATION: 407 US 539 (1972)
ARGUED: Apr 18, 1972
DECIDED: Jun 22, 1972

ADVOCATES:
Bernard Dunau -
Keith E. Mattern -
Norton J. Come -
Ronald L. Aylward -

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Central Hardware Company v. National Labor Relations Board

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 18, 1972 in Central Hardware Company v. National Labor Relations Board

Warren E. Burger:

We'll hear arguments next in 70-223, Central Hardware Co. against the Labor Board.

Mr. Mattern, you may proceed whenever you are ready.

Keith E. Mattern:

Mr. Chief Justice, May it please the Court.

We are reserving 10 minutes of our 40 minutes to rebuttal on this case.

This case involves Central Hardware, the petitioner barring a Union organizer from a single retail stores parking lot in Indianapolis back in 1968.

The National Labor Relations Board found a Section 8 Unfair Labor Practice Violation for this Act.

We appealed that violation to the Eighth Circuit on the basis that because the employees were reasonably accessible to the Union organizers in many places other than the store's parking lots that this court's rule of National Labor Relation Board v. Babcock & Wilcox controlled and therefore the board's decision should have been reversed.

However, the Eighth Circuit found that because Central had opened its parking lots to the public that these lots had become quasi-public in nature and consequently, this court's rule in Logan Valley applied.

We feel that the question before this court is basically in the situation involving a union organizer coming on a single retail stores parking lot.

Do the rules of Babcock & Wilcox apply, or do the rules of Logan Valley apply?

Especially, in this situation where the organizer comes on that lot, not to picket or do anything except solicit authorization cards.

We feel there are two main issues in this case.

The first issue is were these employees accessible to those Union organizers, some place else in Indianapolis besides our parking lots and I will discuss that and how it applies to the Babcock situation.

We feel the second aspect of this case is, are our parking lots quasi-public in nature, so that they have the right under Logan Valley to come on those lots.

Mr. Aylward my co-counsel, will discuss the quasi-public aspect and why Logan Valley in this case does not apply.

Now that as you can probably see from the briefs, the facts are highly disputed as far as the briefs go, but it's our position that these facts are crystal clear as far this record goes.

The facts that are in there and we feel that, not only the physical characteristics of these parking lots are critical in this case but we feel that the actual facts involving the Union organizer's activities, both on the lots and their lack of activities away from the lots are very important.

There are two stories in the Indianapolis.

There is one on the East side of town and one on the West side of the town, both on 38th Street.

The store on the East side of town is on a five acre tract.

It's a store that sits on a back side of the tract with all the parking lot out front, face is on the main street here, side street over here.

On one side of the of the East store's parking lot, there is a car wash.

It has a six foot cyclone fence around it.

On the other side of the East store's parking lot there is what the trial examiner refers to as a truck service station, which is separated from the East store's parking lot by a wide muddy strip, we would like to refer to, as a ditch.

So as you view the East store parking lot, it's not possible to go from any other parking lot on to Central's lot or to go from Central's lot on to any other parking lot, except there is a one man construction office down the access road.

Across town is the West store.

Now the West store looks almost exactly like the East store, again it's about a 5 acre tract.

It sits on the back part of the parking lot, so that all the parking is out front.

Again, there is a busy street way out in front and way over at a far end of that parking lot, there is a McDonald hamburger stand.

Off to right there are two small commercial buildings, they have their own parking lot between them.