Ford Motor Company v. National Labor Relations Board

PETITIONER: Ford Motor Company
RESPONDENT: National Labor Relations Board
LOCATION: Congress

DOCKET NO.: 77-1806
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

CITATION: 441 US 488 (1979)
ARGUED: Feb 28, 1979
DECIDED: May 14, 1979

ADVOCATES:
John A. Fillion - for respondent UAW Local 588
Norton J. Come - for respondent NLRB
Theophil C. Kammholz - for petitioner

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Ford Motor Company v. National Labor Relations Board

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 28, 1979 in Ford Motor Company v. National Labor Relations Board

Warren E. Burger:

We'll hear arguments next in Ford Motor Company against the National Labor Relations Board.

Mr. Kammholz, I think you may proceed whenever you're ready.

Theophil C. Kammholz:

Mr. Chief Justice and members of the Court.

The central issue in this case is whether prices of cafeteria and vending machine food provided in a manufacturing plant to employees falls within the term wages, hours or other terms and conditions of employment as said out in Section 8 (d) of the Act.

Potter Stewart:

Well, it's just the last of those phrases that --

Theophil C. Kammholz:

Or --

Potter Stewart:

-- conceitedly is not -- well there is a claim as much as wage, is it not?

Warren E. Burger:

Oh, subsidy.

Theophil C. Kammholz:

Yes.

Potter Stewart:

Concededly it's not hours.

Theophil C. Kammholz:

Or it may be wages.

The board has raised this issue and I should like to address it late --

Warren E. Burger:

Well, specially if the Union demanded in a subsidy that would be in effect (Voice Overlap) --

Theophil C. Kammholz:

That would be in the area of wages.

Warren E. Burger:

-- addition of compensation.

Theophil C. Kammholz:

Yes.

The facts essentially are not in dispute.

The Ford plant, Chicago Heights, Illinois, employs some 3500 hourly employees with reference to the issue before the Court here.

There are two cafeterias, five vending machine areas known as Cook Cribs.

The providing of food is pursuant to a contract with a food vendor, ARA.

And over the years the contract has been in effect, the contractor has a 9% override on its cost of food, labor and related services.

And in the event of a deficit there is provision for a maximum of $52,000 a year cushion which Ford is obligated to pay.

There is a concurrent provision that in the event of profit, this inures to Ford's benefit but as one might anticipate there has not been a profit in recent years.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Mr. Kammholz, would your position here be any different if Ford itself were operating this cafeterias?

Theophil C. Kammholz:

No, it would be identical Mr. Justice Blackmun.

Harry A. Blackmun:

You would take the position that they are not subject to collective bargaining.

Theophil C. Kammholz:

Precisely, precisely.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Even though you could fix all the prices?

Theophil C. Kammholz:

Exactly.

Warren E. Burger:

Would you take the view that permitting or not permitting food dispensing establishments was subject to collective bargaining mandatory?