National Labor Relations Board v. Radio and Television Broadcast Engineers Union, Local 1212, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO

PETITIONER: National Labor Relations Board
RESPONDENT: Radio and Television Broadcast Engineers Union, Local 1212, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO
LOCATION: Braunfeld's furniture store

DOCKET NO.: 69
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 364 US 573 (1961)
ARGUED: Nov 10, 1960 / Nov 14, 1960
DECIDED: Jan 09, 1961

Facts of the case

Question

Media for National Labor Relations Board v. Radio and Television Broadcast Engineers Union, Local 1212, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 14, 1960 (Part 2) in National Labor Relations Board v. Radio and Television Broadcast Engineers Union, Local 1212, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO
Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 14, 1960 (Part 1) in National Labor Relations Board v. Radio and Television Broadcast Engineers Union, Local 1212, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 10, 1960 in National Labor Relations Board v. Radio and Television Broadcast Engineers Union, Local 1212, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO

Earl Warren:

Number 69, National Labor Relations Board, Petitioner, versus Radio and Television Broadcast Engineers Union.

Mr. Manoli.

Dominick L. Manoli:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

This case is here on writ of certiorari to the Second Circuit.

In general, the case deals with the function of the National Labor Relations Board in administering the so-called jurisdictional disputes provisions of the National Labor Relations Act and the disposition which the Board is to make of these disputes under the statute.

Section 8 (b) (4) (D) of the statute makes it an unfair labor practice for a labor organization to engage in a strike on a work stoppage to force an employer to assign particular work to the members of a labor organization -- the members of one labor organization for trade or craft or group rather than to those of another, unless the employer is failing to conform to a Board order or certification determining the bargain representative of employees performing such work.

Section 10 (k) of the statute provides that whenever there is a charge alleging a violation of the Section 8 (b) (4) (D), the Board is empower -- is empowered and directed to hear and determine the dispute ought of which the unfair labor -- the alleged unfair labor practice arose, unless the parties have agreed upon voluntary methods for the settlement, the adjustment of the underlying dispute.

Now, these provisions of the statute have given rise to two schools of thought, as to the function of the Board in adjusting these jurisdictional disputes in the absence of a preexisting Board order or certification within the meaning of Section 8 (b) (4) (D).

Three Circuit Courts of Appeals have held that Section 10 (k) requires the Board in the absence of a Board order or certification within the meaning of 8 (b) (4) (D) that Section 10 (k) requires the Board to arbitrate the dispute.

And on the basis of such matters as tradition, practice and custom, to affirmatively award the work to one union to the members of one group or the others.

Now, the Board on the other hand and the Fifth Circuit and perhaps the Ninth Circuit have taken the position that the Board discharges its function.

In such, under Section 10 (k) when it determined solely whether the disputed assignment of work is in derogation of a Board order or certification within the meaning of Section 8 (b) (4) (D) and as I shall explain later in derogation of a collective bargaining contract covering the assignment of this work.

Now, the question before this Court in these cases is which of these views is the correct view.

Now, the facts which give rise to this controversy and the particular case here are not in dispute and I shall summarize them very briefly.

The Electrical Workers Union and the stagehands union, they have a big long name but I'll call them stagehands union.

The stagehands unions represent various technicians of the Columbia Broadcasting Company.

For many years, there's been a dispute between these two unions as to -- as to which of them is entitled to perform what is called remote lighting work.

And remote lighting work, as I understand from the record, involves the install -- the installations -- the installation and the operation of lighting equipment in connection with a telecast which originates our way from the home studio of the broadcasting company.

Now, during the period in question here, both unions had collective bargaining contracts with the Columbia Broadcasting Company but either contract, however, covered the assignment of this disputed work.

And the dispute came to ahead in 1956 in connection with a show which the company was about to televise or telecast, whatever the verb is, from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.

In advance of the show, the Company informed the Electrical Workers that it was going to assign this remote -- remote lighting work.

It was going to assign it for the stagehands.

The electricians protested claiming that they were entitled to this work and that they would be -- that there would be the nature of control unless they got it.

Now, the company refused to exceed to this request and the upshot was that the Electrical Workers refused to operate the cameras which was necessary in order to televise the show and as a consequence, the show was canceled.

Now, the Company then filed charges with the Board alleging that this work stoppage by the electricians was in violation of Section 8 (b) (4) (D), which as I said a moment ago makes an unfair labor practice for a union to strike to force an employer to assign particular work with members of one group or another unless it is governed by -- unless the employer's assignment of the work is in derogation of a preexisting Board order certification within the meaning of Section 8 (b) (4) (D).

Upon these charges, when these charges were filed, then the Board proceeded to the preliminary hearing that Section 10 (k) requires.

Section 10 (k), as I said a moment ago, empowers and directs the Board whenever a charge is filed alleging a violation of 8 (b) (4) (D) to hear and determine the dispute.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

May I ask, Mr. Manoli, do you follow the usual procedures in hearings under 10 (k) that is, if there's a reference to an examiner, the report and --

Dominick L. Manoli:

There is a reference to a hearing officer.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

A hearing officer (Voice Overlap) --