National Labor Relations Board v. Babcock & Wilcox Company

PETITIONER: National Labor Relations Board
RESPONDENT: Babcock & Wilcox Company

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1955-1956)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

ARGUED: Jan 25, 1956 / Jan 26, 1956
DECIDED: Apr 30, 1956

Facts of the case


Media for National Labor Relations Board v. Babcock & Wilcox Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 26, 1956 in National Labor Relations Board v. Babcock & Wilcox Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 25, 1956 in National Labor Relations Board v. Babcock & Wilcox Company

Earl Warren:

Number 250, National Labor Relations Board versus the Babcock and Wilcox Company.

Mr. Manoli.

Dominick L. Manoli:

May it please the Court.

This case is here on writ of certiorari with the Fifth Circuit.

The principal question which is presented by this case and the two companion cases which follow this one, is whether non-employee union organizers are entitled under the National Labor Relations Act to distribute literature, union literature, on a plant parking lot, where it is either impossible or unreasonably difficult for them to distribute such literature in the vicinity of the plant.

The court below thought that there was no warrant for -- under the statute for such an intrusion upon the employer's property and it accordingly it rejected the Board's finding that the employers prohibition directed against these non-employee union organizers from distributing literature on the plant parking lot was an unreasonable impediment to the exercise -- to the employees to exercise their rights under the statute and constitute interference and reframe it in the meaning of Section 8(a)(1) of the statute.

The Tenth Circuit in the Seamprufe case which follows this one and the Ninth Circuit in (Inaudible) case which is presently pending on the Board's petition for certiorari.

The court has not yet acted on it, have agreed with Fifth Circuit's views on this question.

On the other hand, the Sixth Circuit in the Ranco case which is the third case of the series of cases to be argued and the Fourth Circuit I might say in two cases which are not now before this Court, have agreed with the Board that such a prohibition under these circumstances constitutes interference and restraining in meaning the Section 8(a)(1) of the statute.

The factual picture in these cases, all three of these cases, I will not attempt to give all at one time now, but I might say that the factual picture in these cases is substantially the same.

In this particular case here --

Felix Frankfurter:

Now, is that true?

Dominick L. Manoli:

I think it is, Your Honor.

There are some -- some differences, but I believe that they are --

Felix Frankfurter:

For instance, you take the difference between employees and non-employees in showing the proposed propaganda.

Dominick L. Manoli:

They're all non-employees in these --

Felix Frankfurter:


Dominick L. Manoli:

-- case.

That that -- the prohibition here in all these cases, in all three of these cases is directed against non-employee or outside union organizers.

Felix Frankfurter:

Yes, but are there members, are the employee, members of the union, are there employees of the employer in the same status in all three cases?

Dominick L. Manoli:

That I am not sure I understand that question, Your Honor.

Felix Frankfurter:

If members of the -- if the employer have a given (Inaudible) members of the union that to me is a differentiating fact.

Dominick L. Manoli:

That's true in the Ranco case.

Felix Frankfurter:

Very well but it's not the same.

Dominick L. Manoli:

It's perhaps not in that respect.

We think that --

Felix Frankfurter:

Well, but it may become important to you.

Dominick L. Manoli:

I will call attention to that, Your Honor, when I come.

I'm sure that the other side will.

Felix Frankfurter:

You've got a real -- real difference of opinion on that.