National Labor Relations Board v. Servette

PETITIONER: National Labor Relations Board
LOCATION: Apartment

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 377 US 46 (1964)
ARGUED: Feb 19, 1964
DECIDED: Apr 20, 1964

Facts of the case


Media for National Labor Relations Board v. Servette

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 19, 1964 (Part 2) in National Labor Relations Board v. Servette

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 19, 1964 (Part 1) in National Labor Relations Board v. Servette

Earl Warren:

Number 111, National Labor Relations Board, Petitioner, versus Servette Incorporated.

Mr. Solicitor General.

Archibald Cox:

Mr. Chief Justice, this is another secondary boycott case, very similar to the case just argued.

Here the primary employer, the company with which the union had its dispute.

With Servette, a wholesale, packer, distributor of candy, holiday supplies, salad oil, and similar specialty products sold in grocery stores.

The secondary employers were chains of retail grocery stores that bought and resold Servette products.

The union here, in order to put pressure upon Servette, the wholesaler and primary employer, engaged in two kinds of activities with respect to the independent chain stores.

At first the union went to the managers of the individual stores but because these were chains, so the manager didn't run a dog store, he ran a store for company like Safeway or the AMP or something like that and asked the manager to cooperate with the union by stopping and selling on the Servette's products.

It was very like the last case wherein they asked the Safeway to -- in effect the Safeway to stop selling tree fruit apples, and they have had a lot of salad oil on their hands here, if they didn't have it, they'd have a lot of rotten apples on their hands in that case, I take it if they didn't have it.

Potter Stewart:

In the previous --

Archibald Cox:

Some --

Potter Stewart:

-- case -- I know that's finished but that they didn't ask the storeowner to stop buying apples, do they?

Archibald Cox:

No, they never said “stop buying”, they asked him to stop selling them.

I suppose the consequence would be that he had a lot of apples on him -- rotten apples on his hands and he would therefore, I think he'd stop buying.

Potter Stewart:

I didn't realize he has to stop but they had to stop --

Archibald Cox:

Not in so many words.

Potter Stewart:

-- selling.

But that case --

Archibald Cox:

I'm sorry.

I didn't mean to -- I was trying to prepare the analogy, I will stick to this case so I didn't want to reargue.

Here, I think they asked him to stop buying from the Servette.

In any event they certainly in effect asked them to stop buying because they said, “Don't sell Servette goods.”

And the consequence would be that you inevitably that you didn't buy Servette products unless you wanted to fill your warehouse with it.

Some of the managers exceeded to the union's request, others refused.

There was no threat, coercion or restraint except by the handbill that I will describe in a moment.

And the first question presented here is whether this request to the managers not to continue to deal in Servette products where an unfair labor practice under Section 8 (b) (4) (i), that's not the one we've been discussing in this case, but the one I had discussed in laying the background as to the old Taft-Hartley Act.

Where the manager didn't cooperate, where he continued to sell Servette products, then the union threatened to and then didn't did pass out handbills asking the public not to buy various Servette products.

Some of them listed the products by trade name and others spoke of Servette as I remember it specifically.

There was no picketing of any kind.

There was no strike, no stoppage of deliveries.