National Labor Relations Board v. Wyman-Gordon Company

PETITIONER: National Labor Relations Board
RESPONDENT: Wyman-Gordon Company
LOCATION: United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

DOCKET NO.: 463
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1967-1969)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

CITATION: 394 US 759 (1969)
ARGUED: Mar 03, 1969
DECIDED: Apr 23, 1969

Facts of the case

Question

Media for National Labor Relations Board v. Wyman-Gordon Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 03, 1969 in National Labor Relations Board v. Wyman-Gordon Company

Earl Warren:

Number 463, National Labor Relations Board, petitioner, versus Wyman-Gordon Co.

Mr. Solicitor General.

Erwin N. Griswold:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

This case presents a question of administrative law, perhaps more suitable to discussion by a law school seminar than meriting extensive consideration by this Court because I believe that there are decisions of the Court which, though not directly authoritatively appoint, point the way to the decision which should be reached.

The legal problem began in 1966, when the National Labor Relations Board decided the case of Excelsior Underwear Company in 156 NLRB.

This opinion appears in full twice in the papers before the Court, once as appendix C to the petition for certiorari at pages 14 (a) through 33 (a), and also in the appendix or record at pages 12-28.

The Excelsior case involved a representation election proceeding under Section 9 (c) (1) of the National Labor Relations Act.

The vote went strongly against the Labor Union, petitioner, in that case and it filed objections to the conduct of the election.

One of the objections was, and I quote from page 13 of the appendix, “the employer's conduct,” right at the middle of the page, “the employer's conduct in refusing to supply the Union with a list of employees and their addresses for the purpose of allowing the Union to answer the letter referred to in objection number one.”

In due course, the Excelsior case and another case came before the Board for a hearing and it determined, and here I quote from page 14 of the appendix, this too being in the Excelsior opinion, “that the employer's denial of the petitioner's request where the names and addresses of employees eligible to vote in the elections in these two cases presented a question of substantial importance in the administration of the National Labor Relations Act.”

And, the Board then invited further briefs on this issue from the parties.

It also invited other interested parties to file briefs amici and to participate in the oral argument.

Potter Stewart:

Right there, Mr. Solicitor General, did the -- was it the Board which selected this groups who should receive invitations to --

Erwin N. Griswold:

As I understand it, Mr. Justice, it was.

Potter Stewart:

In other words, this-- unlike the rule making procedure, this was not left open for anybody in this system.

Erwin N. Griswold:

The opinion says that the Board invited certain interested parties to file briefs.

It was not like the rule making procedure where there is a notice and whoever becomes aware of that notice can participate in filing briefs.

Potter Stewart:

It was -- these were -- I see, these were invitations to a somewhat exclusive group, or at least --

Erwin N. Griswold:

Yes, but a rather representative group.

There were two national employer's associations and six labor unions which participated, but I agree, it is not the procedure prescribed by the Administrative Procedure Act for rule making.

If it had been, the case would not be here.

Arguments were held on May 20, 1965 and, on the basis of the briefs and oral arguments, the Board entered its decision on February 4, 1966.

That appears on page 33 of the appendix.

In its decision, the Board concluded that higher standards of disclosure than we have here, before, imposed are necessary, and it established a requirement that will be applied in all lection -- election cases, quoting from page 17 of the appendix.

Did it apply them in that case?

Erwin N. Griswold:

That's the point, Mr. Justice.

It did not.

Under this requirement, let me state the requirement and then state what's next.

Under this requirement, “within seven days after the Regional Director has approved a consent election agreement, the employer must file with the Regional Director an election eligibility list containing the names and addresses of all of the eligible voters and this information is then made available to all of the parties in this case.

Now, in answer to Mr. Justice Harlan's question, I refer to footnote 5 of the Board's opinion on page 17, the second paragraph of that footnote.