Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO v. National Labor Relations Board

PETITIONER: Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO
RESPONDENT: National Labor Relations Board
LOCATION: Superior Court of Bibb County

DOCKET NO.: 418
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

CITATION: 362 US 479 (1960)
ARGUED: Apr 18, 1960
DECIDED: May 02, 1960

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO v. National Labor Relations Board

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 18, 1960 (Part 2) in Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO v. National Labor Relations Board

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 18, 1960 (Part 1) in Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO v. National Labor Relations Board

Earl Warren:

Number 418, Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, et al., Petitioners, versus National Labor Relations Board.

Mr. Goldthwaite you may proceed.

J. R. Goldthwaite, Jr.:

Mr. Chief Justice, Your Honors.

It's always a pleasure to be here in this spot.

This case comes here from the Sixth Circuit by way of writ of certiorari.

The principal question for the decision of -- of the Court is whether or not the order of the Labor Board which was enforced by the Sixth Circuit is too broad and that it enjoined the petitioner, both petitioners from interfering with restraining the employees of any employer including of the -- of the primary employer and those of any other employer.

The question is whether or not the language or any other employer is too broad.

The rule which was announced by this Court in 1941 in the Express Publishing Company case has stood and has been adhered to in all subsequent decisions of this Court and of the Courts of Appeal.

It's all for that rule in substance was that the order of the National Labor Relations Board and towards the decree of the Sixth Circuit, to paraphrase, must be bottomed in the record.

The evidence must authorize a conclusion that the unfair -- or they must authorize the Board to issue an order and that the evidence must show what unfair labor practices were committed and the order should be restricted to those unless there are other circumstances of such as a past history of misconduct of a similar type or an affirmative showing on the record that the respondent before the Labor Board intends to extend the conduct to some other employers.

Otherwise, this Court has held that the scope of the Board's order must be restricted to the parties involved.

It's the position of the petitioners as the -- I think the primary collateral question for decision which goes into the principal one that there was no evidence in the record, either by way of direct evidence or by way of history from which a -- a broad order could be based.

And that the counsel for the National Labor Relations Board, when they -- and for the first time injected into the case by way of their briefs in the Sixth Circuit the fact that there had been two previous compromise settlements of other Labor Board cases in which one of the petitioners here, the Communications Workers, had been a party.

Those were compromise settlements and it is our positioned if there was no evidence in the record other than those compromise settlements which should not be considered by the Court.

The case arises out of a strike at Ohio Consolidated Telephone Company in Portsmouth, Ohio which began in July, 1956.

The Communications Workers of America was the collective bargaining representative for the employees of the Ohio Consolidated Telephone Company for a period of 14 years previous to July 1956.

The Communications Workers of America is a National Labor Organization operating through out the United States and also in the Dominion of Canada.

It has about 730 local unions and it has contracts with over 100 different employers.

It also -- seeks to organize and to represent the employees of other employers.

The scope of the order enjoining it from interfering with or restraining the employees of the Ohio Consolidated Telephone Company in the exercise of their rights under Section 7 of the Act or the employees of any other employer would authorize an extension of the order to cover all of those 100 employers and their employees throughout the United States.

When the strike occurred in July of 1956, three local unions who administer the contract with Ohio Consolidated Telephone Company went out on strike.

The petitioner here, Local 4372, it res -- is -- has jurisdiction or has as its members, those employees who reside in Portsmouth, Ohio and vicinity.

The other two local unions who were not made respondents before the Labor Board also went out on strike.

During the course of the strike, Ohio Consolidated continued to operate its telephone facilities enforcement and elsewhere in Ohio by using supervisory employees who were, carried on his own payroll, his own supervisory employees.

Its confidential secretaries to management officials -- management officials and other employees possibly appeal -- grow more of -- of a clerical nature who were not represented by the Communications Workers and its local unions in their bargaining capacity.

It also used in order to carry on the telephone operation during the strike supervisory employees of other affiliated telephone companies.

The record shows that Ohio Consolidated Telephone Company is one of the subsidiary companies or sister companies as referred to of the General Telephone System which is a system of telephone companies roughly comparable or not in -- so as to the American Telephone and Telegraph Company which operates of course a nationwide telephone system composed of a number of operating companies and other facilities.

General Telephone Company is substantially similar.

Among its subsidiary companies are General Telephone Company of Ohio, General Telephone Company of West Virginia, General Telephone Company of Pennsylvania, General Telephone Company of the South West and I believe there's one in Illinois and Ohio Consolidated Telephone Company.

During the period of the strike, supervisory employees from these various sister operating companies were loaned to Ohio Consolidated Telephone Company.