Guss v. Utah Labor Relations Board

RESPONDENT: Utah Labor Relations Board
LOCATION: Congress

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)

CITATION: 353 US 1 (1957)
ARGUED: Jan 16, 1957
DECIDED: Mar 25, 1957

Facts of the case


Media for Guss v. Utah Labor Relations Board

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 16, 1957 in Guss v. Utah Labor Relations Board

Earl Warren:

Number 280, P.S. Guss, Doing Business as Photo Sounds Products Manufacturing Company, Appellant, versus Utah Labor Relations Board.

Mr. Billings.

Peter W. Billings:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

I believe that perhaps this, the third of these three cases, brings in clearest focus the issue which has tied the three together.

That is the question of whether 10 (a) provides the exclusive manner in which States may attempt to regulate unfair labor practices as defined in the Act when they affect interstate commerce.

In this case, the appellant is engaged in the manufacture of special photographic equipment for the Air Force.

I -- I think he most ably fits this definition of a borderline industry so far as interstate commerce is concerned as used in the statutory history of Section 10 (a).

The total amount of these three contracts was around $150,000.

He purchased about $50,000 worth of materials from outside of the State and delivered the finished special equipment to the Air Force to bases both inside the State of Utah and in other Air Force bases throughout the United States.

He had his employee according to the ballot conducted by the NLRB, 26 employees.

Soon after he started performance of these, the three contracts, the Steelworkers Union filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board for certification of the steelworkers as the bargaining representative for his employees.

And the day that the hearing was set on such petition, the union and Mr. Guss entered into an agreement for a consent election to be conducted by the NLRB.

That was -- and that election was conducted in May of 1954 and the Steelworkers Union prevailed by a vote of 15 to -- 25 to 11 and the union was duly certified by the National Board.

Very shortly after, within a week after that certification was issued, the union filed with the National Board a complaint alleging unfair labor practices, both in the conduct of the election in the alleging discriminatory discharges of some of these employees and a refusal to bargain.

And thereupon, the National Board conducted an investigation of these charges between that day and July of 1954.

In other words, just over a couple of months.

On July 1st and July 15th of 1954, the Board came down with its new jurisdictional yardsticks under terms of which the appellant here clearly fall without.

Felix Frankfurter:

What was the date, please?

Peter W. Billings:

July 1st and 15th, Your Honor, 1954 as when they were announced in the press releases.

Felix Frankfurter:

Is that remanding stationary to date?

Peter W. Billings:

Yes, Your Honor, they have not been changed except as in case -- by case determination.

They may have been expended.

Felix Frankfurter:

They are general -- they are general persons.

Peter W. Billings:

That's right.

And so on July 21st, 1954, the regional director of the National Board advised the union that he would not process their -- further their complaint on the ground that it would not effectuate the policies of the Act for the National Board to do so.

The -- thereupon, without any appeal to the National Board as the letter of declination invited, the union filed almost exactly the same charge with the Utah Labor Relations Board.

And within a few months, the -- the Utah Board held a hearing and made the determinations from which this appeal was taken.

The Utah Board is set up under the Utah Act which is -- which might be characterized as a little Wagner Act.

It was passed in 1937 shortly after the Wagner Act was passed by the National Congress and was patterned on it.

Instead of talking about interstate commerce or affecting interstate commerce as the National Act did, it uses the words intrastate commerce and the orderly operation of industry and is ministered by a Board similar to the National Board.