Local 761, International Union of Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers, AFL-CIO v. National Labor Relations Board

PETITIONER: Local 761, International Union of Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers, AFL-CIO
RESPONDENT: National Labor Relations Board
LOCATION: Alabama General Assembly

DOCKET NO.: 321
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

CITATION: 366 US 667 (1961)
ARGUED: Apr 17, 1961 / Apr 18, 1961
DECIDED: May 29, 1961

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Local 761, International Union of Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers, AFL-CIO v. National Labor Relations Board

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 18, 1961 in Local 761, International Union of Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers, AFL-CIO v. National Labor Relations Board

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 17, 1961 in Local 761, International Union of Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers, AFL-CIO v. National Labor Relations Board

Earl Warren:

Number 321, Local 761, International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers, AFL-CIO, Petitioner, versus N.L.R.B.

Mr. Sigal.

Benjamin C. Sigal:

Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the Court, may it please the Court.

The National Labor Relations Board in this case held that the petitioner violated Section 8 (b) (4) (A) of the National Labor Relations Act, as it appeared prior to amendment in 1949, by inducing and encouraging the employees of independent contractors to engage in a concerted refusal to work with an object of forcing the independent contractors to cease doing business with the General Electric Company and in order that the petitioner cease and desist from that conduct, not only as to these independent contractors but as to any other -- as to the employees of any other employer.

Now, the facts are these.

The petitioner represents and there at that time, the production and maintenance employees of the General Electric Company at its Appliance Park plant near Louisville, Kentucky.

There were about 10,000 employees altogether at the plant at that time than -- of which the petitioner represented about 7600.

The principal products of this plant are electrical appliances such as dishwashers, dryers, washers, room air-conditioning units and appliances of that kind.

Now, the Appliance Park plant consists of a collection a collection of 13 buildings on a large tract of land, consisting about 1000 acres.

Six of the buildings are used directly for production purposes and the others for servicing the production processes.

Access to the plant is obtained by five road ways crossing a culvert which surrounds the plant and these roadways are called gates.

Most of the employees, the customers and others wanting to enter the plant do so by way of these roadways.

Now, in 1958 and from time to time prior to that, the company had entered into contracts with independent contractors for work to be done on its buildings in this -- on this site and on the grounds as well and the work consisted of general maintenance work and also for installation, repair and alteration of the facilities in the plants and most important, work in converting to the manufacturer of new models of these various appliances such as retooling, rearrangement of conveyors and so forth.

Some of this work had been done and it could be done by the employees of General Electric if they were available at the time and there was also a unique competitive system within the company by which one of the departments or service department bid on certain types of alterations and maintenance work.

And if their bid was lower than that of the independent contractor, they obtained the work otherwise it went to an independent contractor.

Now, in 1954, the company had issued instructions that one of these five gates, namely which was numbered 3-A to be used only by the employees of the independent contractors whereas the other gates could be used by its own employees and also by the employees of suppliers, other customers and so forth.

Now, the reason for this action was that there had been a number of strikes of the craftsmen of the -- in the employees of the independent contractors which had involved the employees of GE and therefore, they set aside this particular gate for the exclusive use of the employees of the contractors.

Now, this gate was of course used by any contractor and not just by those who happen to be involved in this case.

Now, at the time of the strike which occurred in this case -- which occurred in July of 1958, there were -- contracts had been given to 12 independent contractors, half of whom had already started their work on those particular contracts.

Most -- one of them, they worked on -- one of them had gone -- it begun as far back as January of 1958, none had gone back before that.

However, there were a couple of these contractors who had worked on these premises on other contracts from time to time over a period of two, three, or four years.

As to the other contractors, they hadn't even begun doing the work which they had contracted to do for General Electric at this time.

Felix Frankfurter:

As I -- I may have missed, Mr. Sigal but did you state when gate three --

Benjamin C. Sigal:

Yes.

Felix Frankfurter:

-- was --

Benjamin C. Sigal:

-- in 1954.

Felix Frankfurter:

1954, in reference to any special situation?

Benjamin C. Sigal:

No, not special except as I indicated.

There had been a number of jurisdictional disputes, strikes among the employees of the independent contractors.

Felix Frankfurter:

Yes.