Sears, Roebuck & Company v. Carpet, Linoleum, Soft Tile & Resilient Floor Covering Layers, Local Union No. 419, AFL-CIO

PETITIONER: Sears, Roebuck & Company
RESPONDENT: Carpet, Linoleum, Soft Tile & Resilient Floor Covering Layers, Local Union No. 419, AFL-CIO
LOCATION: Riverbed of the Arkansas River

DOCKET NO.: 476
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1969-1970)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

CITATION: 397 US 655 (1970)
ARGUED: Mar 03, 1970
DECIDED: Apr 27, 1970

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Sears, Roebuck & Company v. Carpet, Linoleum, Soft Tile & Resilient Floor Covering Layers, Local Union No. 419, AFL-CIO

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 03, 1970 in Sears, Roebuck & Company v. Carpet, Linoleum, Soft Tile & Resilient Floor Covering Layers, Local Union No. 419, AFL-CIO

Warren E. Burger:

We'll hear arguments in number 476, Sears, Roebuck and Company against Carpet, Linoleum, Tile, Local Union 419.

Smetana, you may proceed whenever you're ready.

Gerard C. Smetana:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

What is involved here is a determination of the status of charging parties under Section 10 (l) of the Act, specifically, whether they have standing to appeal denial of temporary injunctive relief.

Section 10 (l) of the Act is an extraordinary remedy.

It provides whenever it is charge that any person has engaged in an unfair labor practice within the meaning of Section 8 (b) (4) (A) (B) and (C), and specifically here that charging party is a neutral employer in a charge involving violations of Section 8 (b) (4) (B), the secondary boycott provisions of the Act.

So the charging party is one of the person's contemplated for protection under Section 10 (l).

Statute then goes on to say the preliminary investigation of such charge shall be made forthwith and be given priority over all cases.

In this particular case Sears Roebuck, the petitioner filed a charge with the NLRB, and the NLRB proceeded to make such investigation.

Statute then goes on to say if after such investigation, the officer or Regional Attorney to whom the matter may be refer has reasonable cause to believe such charge is true, and that a complaint should issue, he shall on behalf of the Board, petition a District Court for injunctive relief.

In this particular case, the Regional Director for the NLRB in Denver made such a finding of reasonable cause, and he follow the statutory mandate and sought injunctive relief in the District Court of the District of Colorado.

It is our position that the charging party or neutral -- a neutral party such as Sears is in this case is the very person whom Congress when it enacted, not only the 8 (b) (4) provisions, the secondary boycott provision at the time of Taft-Hartley, but also Section 10 (l), the mandatory requirement that the Government seek injunctive relief is the party for whose benefit, in addition of course to the public a benefit, for whose benefit the relief is being sought.

Specifically, the issue in this case --

Is there anyone with the permission of the charging party to be (Inaudible)?

Gerard C. Smetana:

Justice Harlan, the statute says only this with respect to the role of the charging party.

Upon filing of any such petition, the courts shall cause notice thereof to be served upon any person involved in the charge.

And such person, including the charging party shall be given an opportunity to appear by counsel and present any relevant testimony.

That is the extent to which the statute specifically --

It doesn't make him a party?

Gerard C. Smetana:

Your Honor?

It doesn't make him a party apparent as he believes?

Gerard C. Smetana:

It is our position --

I know your position.

Gerard C. Smetana:

Yes.

It is -- the terms do not explicitly refer to the charging party is a party acceptance so far as the word party is used together with charging.

But it is our contention and we will demonstrate to this Court as we believe we have in our briefs that in reading -- in looking to the entire scheme of the Act, in other words, the role, the charging party's play in the Board proceeding because the same charge which Sears Roebuck here filed gave rise to two proceedings, and gave rise to two concurrent actions.

In fact it happens in this case, they were on the same day, although, they need them to bid.

In this particular case, the Regional Director issued an unfair labor practice complaint alleging that the Carpet Layers respondent union here was violating or he had reasonable cause to believe that the respondent union was violating the secondary boycott provisions of the Act, and similarly, filed a petition for injunctive relief.

Those two cases are still very much alive.

And the Regional Director at all times, critical to our contention here has continued to maintain that reasonable belief or reasonable cause to believe that the union has violated the law or was in the process of violating the law.