National Labor Relations Board v. Katz

PETITIONER: National Labor Relations Board
RESPONDENT: Katz
LOCATION: United States Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit

DOCKET NO.: 222
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 369 US 736 (1962)
ARGUED: Mar 22, 1962
DECIDED: May 21, 1962

Facts of the case

Question

Media for National Labor Relations Board v. Katz

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 22, 1962 (Part 1) in National Labor Relations Board v. Katz

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 22, 1962 (Part 2) in National Labor Relations Board v. Katz

Earl Warren:

Mr. Raphael, you may continue your argument.

Sidney O. Raphael:

Thank you Your Honor.

I'd like to pick up the thread of my argument shortly before we -- Your Honor declared a recess.

Somewhere around April of 1957 after we had gone through 12 hectic bargaining sessions over a period of time, we found ourselves in the position of where we were vacillating between individual collective bargaining, industry wide collective bargaining.

And frankly, I don't think anybody, you, neither the State Mediation Border or the Union or those people who were sitting in as a group in these negotiations in what thing we were bargaining.

I think everybody recognized though that an industry-wide pattern would have been the more preferable method of evolving a collective bargaining agreement because it would've established uniform conditions.

And that was --

Potter Stewart:

This is a metal fabricating industry.

Sidney O. Raphael:

This is metal fabricating Your Honor.

Potter Stewart:

Localized in any area or is it all over the (Voice Overlap) --

Sidney O. Raphael:

No, it's Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey principally.

Potter Stewart:

Primarily there.

Sidney O. Raphael:

And our members have rather substantial plants in all of these three states.

And what we were trying to achieve is a uniformity of conditions.

And I think the Union went along with that, shall we say sub-consciously, although not voicing it in those words.

Now, the reference has been made in the argument of the petition.

It might have been availed inference that there was a sham bargaining.

Again, I want to repeat that the risk of -- perhaps being redundant that we have real genuine, sincere bargaining and rather lengthy and hectic sessions that resolved many issues and resulted in a wage pattern which meant perhaps over a million dollars as far as our members will consign for a period of a three-year agreement.

Now, when we got down to about the middle of May and the situation became very acute because a strike had been declared against one of the members of the association.

And there was general chaos and disruption among the workers which we contended on the record was generated and inspired by the Union's representatives.

When that situation eventuate, we at that time said to the Union, “Look, if we cannot agree amicably on what constitutes the format of a collective agreement, let us give this thing to the American Arbitration Association for them, for an arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators to be chosen who have the expertise in dealing with these problems and we are agreeable to be bound by their award.”

Well, surprisingly, the Union refused to go along.

And with the result that the -- there was a complete impasse at that time.

The Union wrote us a letter, we wrote the Union a letter and for a period of two months, we heard nothing from the Union at all.

So that following May the 17th, which is a local date, somewhere at the beginning of July and just about the time when the certification year was to expire, the employees were then the collective bargaining unit, sua sponte disowned the Union, notified us that they were no longer interested in having the union bargain for them collectively.

But even before this impasse resulted in May of 1957, we had another curious situation which brought about an impasse and that was this.

While we were engaged in this overall industry-wide bargaining the Union went and they used the divide and conquer procedure which they have a perfect right to do.

It's -- all is fair in an economic war, we agree to that.

And they went and obtained a collective agreement from the largest employer in the industry operating a plant in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

And in this agreement, a clause was written which stated, “No other employee shall be accorded times and conditions more favorable than those that are prescribed in this contract.”