Textile Workers Union of America v. Darlington Manufacturing Company

PETITIONER: Textile Workers Union of America
RESPONDENT: Darlington Manufacturing Company
LOCATION: United States Post Office and Courthouse

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

CITATION: 380 US 263 (1965)
ARGUED: Dec 09, 1964 / Dec 10, 1964
DECIDED: Mar 29, 1965

Facts of the case


Media for Textile Workers Union of America v. Darlington Manufacturing Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 09, 1964 in Textile Workers Union of America v. Darlington Manufacturing Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 10, 1964 in Textile Workers Union of America v. Darlington Manufacturing Company

Earl Warren:

-- Worker's Union of America, Petitioner versus Darlington Manufacturing Company et al. and Number 41, National Labor Relations Board, Petitioner versus Darlington Manufacturer Company.

Sam J. Ervin, Jr.:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

There has nothing whatever in the history -- list of history in the National Labor Relations Act that indicates any congressional purposed to the private enforce of their right to withdraw from business at anytime for any reason.

On the contrary, there was have -- the legislative history shows the contrary.

This Act had its genesis in the Wagner Act.

When the Wagner Act was before Congress, congressman Griswold of Indiana, a ranked member of the committee which reported the Bill for the House assured the House that they have the House's assurance, there is nothing in the Bill to keep an operator from closing his plant and when the White Act was before the senate, Senator Walsh, chairman of the Senate Committee which reported the Bill, gave this assurance to the senate.

Now, some fundamental rights an employer has just as our rights an employer -- an employee has.

No one can impel -- compel an employer to keep his factory open.

So in dealing with this Bill, we have not gone into that domain.

The Wagner Act was subsequently converted to the National Labor Relation Acts by subsequent amendments.

The Act in its present form, uses the term employee 78 times, the term employer 64 times, the term employment, 22 times and the term commerce which it defines to mean interstate commerce, 31 times.

In all essences, the terms employee, employer, employment and commerce are used in the Act in context which disclose that congressional purpose of the Act is to secure to employees the right to organize and bargain, collect to represent just their own to choosing it with their employer in respect to rates of pay, wages, hours of employment and other conditions of employment, and to forbid the employer for the engaging in unfair practices interfering with such rights, so long and so long only, as the employment relation exists between the employees and their employer, and so long and so long only, as their employer is engaged in interstate commerce or in an industry affecting interstate commerce.

There is not a syllable, a word, a phrase, a paragraph or a section in the Act, which can be reasonably construed to deny to any employer in the private business, the power to remove himself from the regulatory power of Congress under the interstate commerce clause at any time for any reason by vehemently going out of business.

If Congress had undertaken to pass an Act of that character, it would not only have exceeded its power under the interstate commerce which is restricted to the power to regulate people while they engaged in interstate commerce or in an industry affecting interstate commerce, but it would have been reported to the economic rights secured to Americans by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

It would have denied Darlington as a corporation, the right of property that it -- one of the fundamental rights of property to which is a right secured for that -- of a clause, to go out to this sale of its property at any time it pleases -- and also it would have denied the right protected by the Due Process Clause deliberative property on behalf of the stockholders of Darlington, because it would have denied them the privilege of exercising the liberty of disarming the corporation and taking it as their own property, for either sales or their net assets of the corporation.


Sam J. Ervin, Jr.:

Well, the railroad is a public utility which is --


Sam J. Ervin, Jr.:

Well, the difference in commerce is that the railroad is a public --


Sam J. Ervin, Jr.:

Is a public utility, it gets exclusive privilege as in the [Inaudible] nape of monopoly.

And it operates under a public franchise, that's not true of about private employers and that's the fundamental distrait distinction.


Sam J. Ervin, Jr.:

Yes, it's based upon the commerce clause plus the fact, that the railroad in Tennessee can merely a private profit for sale, is engaged in the performance of a duly affected with the public interest and for that reason, since it gets to public franchise in the nature of monopoly cannot withdraw as a private of business can.

I think that's the fundamental mistake.

Now, I would like to say -- just a few more words that there never has been a case in which there has been a more diligent effort on the part of the general counsel to make out of case.

He took almost six years of time in order to propel this case and dig-up evidence.

He produced thousands of pages of all testimony, and inspected thousands of documents belonging to some 20 different corporations.

And when all of this evidence was produced, the trial examiner who did a most thorough job, made this correct finding.

He said in effect that there was not a scintilla, I mean not a bit of evidence introduced in this case which was inconsistent with the complete independence of Darlington and that all the thing the evidence showed with respect to the relations of Darlington to other corporations was and it had the same normal relations to Deering Milliken, the sales agent, as ordinarily existed between a manufacturer and corporation and the sales agent, and that it merely had some limited cooperation of a voluntary nature with some of the other corporations in an effort to minimize the cost of tax service, the cost of tenants service as the industrial engineers, and lack of services essential to its existence of which it could not otherwise have obtained or obtained so cheaply.