Fall River Dyeing & Finishing Corporation v. National Labor Relations Board

PETITIONER: Fall River Dyeing & Finishing Corporation
RESPONDENT: National Labor Relations Board
LOCATION: Arizona State Prison

DOCKET NO.: 85-1208
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-1987)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

CITATION: 482 US 27 (1987)
ARGUED: Mar 02, 1987
DECIDED: Jun 01, 1987

ADVOCATES:
Louis R. Cohen - on behalf of the Respondent
Ira Drogin - on behalf of the Petitioner
Louis R. Cohen - for respondent

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Fall River Dyeing & Finishing Corporation v. National Labor Relations Board

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 02, 1987 in Fall River Dyeing & Finishing Corporation v. National Labor Relations Board

William H. Rehnquist:

We will hear argument first this morning in Number 85-1208, Fall River Dyeing & Finishing Corporation versus National Labor Relations Board.

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

Ira Drogin:

Mr. Chief Justice, and say it please the Court:

This case involves the issue of whether and under what circumstances an employer, purchasing the assets of a defunct business enterprise, must recognize a labor union which represented the employees of its predecessor, the former assets owner.

It is to be distinguished immediately from those cases in which a going business was purchased, substantially intact and operational, and in which the new owner retained or quickly employed a majority of the employees of the former assets owner.

This Court must decide--

Byron R. White:

--heard enough of the employees of the former owner, that a majority of his present employees are those?

Ira Drogin:

--That is correct, Your Honor.

Eventually that occurred.

That occurred at two different time periods and I am going to get to that if I may.

This Court must decide whether Fall River should be considered a successor for the purposes of collective bargaining when the employees of its predecessor constituted a minority of all of the employees of Fall River at the full complement date, but also when the employees of the predecessor constituted a majority at an earlier date, the substantial complement date.

We have some guidance from this Court in how to approach this particular issue, and if I may quote very briefly from the opinion of this Court in howard Johnson: this Court held that the real question in each of these successorship cases is on the particular facts, what are the legal obligations of the new employer to the employees of the former owner or their representative.

The answer to this, according to this Court, requires an analysis of the interests of the new employer and the employees, and of the policies of the labor laws in light of the facts of each case and the particular legal obligation which is at issue, whether it be the duty to recognize and bargain with the union, the duty to remedy unfair labor practices, et cetera.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

Mr. Drogin, I take it that in general we have concluded that NLRB findings of fact are going to be treated as conclusive unless they are not supported by substantial evidence.

Do you agree with that as a general principle?

Ira Drogin:

I certainly do, Your Honor.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

All right.

Now, what are the legal issues if any that you think are in this case?

Are you asking us to change some legal standard that the Board employs, the substantial and representative complement test or anything of that kind?

Ira Drogin:

I am, indeed, Your Honor.

I think that the substantial and--

Sandra Day O'Connor:

It isn't clear to me from your petition and the statement of questions whether we are being asked to review the case to find out if there is substantial evidence, or if you are asking us to employ a new legal test or standard in these cases.

Ira Drogin:

--I think the answer is both.

I think that there is no rational basis for the decision of the Board here, and I am also--

Sandra Day O'Connor:

You mean, there is no substantial evidence?

Ira Drogin:

--That is right.

I think that there is--

Sandra Day O'Connor:

So, you are asking us to make a factual determination?

Ira Drogin:

--Yes, I am, Your Honor.

I am asking that.