1. What unfair labor practices did the employer commit? 2. Was the agreement a strike deterrent? Why or why not?...
1. What unfair labor practices did the employer commit?
2. Was the agreement a strike deterrent? Why or why not?
3. What did the Court find as to the legality of the union conduct?
[Mastro Plastics Corporation and its sister corporation F. A. Reeds Company (Mastro or petitioners) manufactured plastic parts for musical instruments at a plant in New York City. Their employees were represented by Carpenters Local 3127. In August 1950, Local 65 of the Warehouse Workers Union began a campaign to represent Mastro/F. A. Reeds employees. Mastro bitterly opposed the movement, believing Local 65 to be communist-controlled.
Believing that the Carpenters were too weak to cope successfully with Local 65, Mastro asked the Carpenters to transfer their bargaining rights to Local 318, International Brotherhood of Paper Mill Workers, AFL. When the Carpenters declined to do so, Mastro selected a committee of employees to visit Local 318, obtain membership cards, and seek members for that union. The cards were distributed during working hours, and Mastro paid the employees for time spent in the campaign, including attendance at a meeting of Local 318. Mastro's officers and supervisors instructed employees to sign these cards and indicated that those refusing to do so would be "out."
On September 28, Local 65 filed with the NLRB its petition for certification as bargaining representative. On October 24, Local 318 intervened in the representation proceedings and asked that it be certified. However, many employees revoked their applications for membership in Local 318 and reaffirmed their adherence to the Carpenters. This was followed on October 31 by the Carpenters' refusal to consent to an election on the ground that petitioners had unlawfully assisted Local 318 in the campaign.
On November 10, 1950, Mastro's president discharged Frank Ciccone because of his activity in support of the Carpenters and his opposition to Local 318. The discharge precipitated a strike. There was no disorder, but the plant was shut down until December 11; and it was March 9, 1951, before the Carpenters, on behalf of Mastro employees, made an unconditional request to return to work. Mastro ignored that request, and neither Ciccone nor any of the other 76 striking employees were reinstated.]
This case presents two principal questions: (1) whether in the collective bargaining contract before us, the union's undertaking "to refrain from engaging in any strike or work stoppage during the term of this agreement" waives not only the employees' rights to strike for economic benefits but also their right to strike solely against unfair labor practices of their employers, and (2) whether Par. 8(d) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, deprives individuals of their status as employees if, within the waiting period prescribed by Par. 8(d)(4), they engage in a strike solely against unfair labor practices of their employers. For the reason hereafter stated, we answer each in the negative.
Petitioners admitted that they had discharged the employees in question and had not rehired them. They denied, however, that in so doing they had committed any unfair labor practices. Their first affirmative defense was that the waiver of the right to strike, expressed by their employees in their collective bargaining contract, applied to strikes not only for economic benefits but to any and all strikes by such employees, including strikes directed solely against unfair labor practices of the employer.
Petitioners' other principal defense was that the existing strike began during the statutory waiting period initiated by the employees' request for modifications of the contract and that, by virtue of Section 8(d) of the Act, the strikers had lost their status as employees. That defense turned upon petitioners' interpretation of Section 8(d), applying it not only to strikes for economic benefits but to any and all strikes occurring during the waiting period, including strikes solely against unfair labor practices of the employer.
The trial examiner made findings of fact sustaining the complaint and recommended that petitioners be ordered to cease and desist from the interference complained of and be required to offer Ciccone and the 76 other discharged employees full reinstatement, together with back pay for Ciccone from November 10, 1950, and for the other employees from March 9, 1951. With minor modifications, the Board adopted the examiner's findings and conclusions and issued the recommended order.
Because of the importance of the issues in industrial relations and in the interpretation of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, we granted certiorari. 348 U.S. 910.
Apart from the issues raised by petitioners' affirmative defenses, the proceedings reflect a flagrant example of interference by the employers with the expressly protected right of their employees to select their own bargaining representative. The findings disclose vigorous efforts by the employers to influence and even to coerce their employees to abandon the Carpenters as their bargaining representatives and to substitute Local 318. Accordingly, unless petitioners sustain at least one of their affirmative defenses, they must suffer the consequences of their unfair labor practices violating Section 8(a)(1), (2) and (3) of the Act, as amended.
In the absence of some contractual or statutory provision to the contrary, petitioners' unfair labor practices provide adequate ground for the orderly strike that occurred here. Under those circumstances, the striking employees do not lose their status and are entitled to reinstatement with back pay, even if replacements for them have been made. Failure of the Board to enjoin petitioners' illegal conduct or failure of the Board to sustain the right to strike against that conduct would seriously undermine the primary objectives of the Labor Act. While we assume that the employees, by explicit contractual provision, could have waived their right to strike against such unfair labor practices and that Congress, by explicit statutory provision, could have deprived strikers, under the circumstances of this case, of their status as employees, the questions before us are whether or not such a waiver was made by the Carpenters in their 1949-1950 contract and whether or not such a deprivation of status was enacted by Congress in Section 8(d) of the Act, as amended in 1947.…
As neither the collective bargaining contract nor Section 8(d) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, stands in the way, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is
A Corporation is a legal form of business that is separate from its owner. In other words, a corporation is a business or organization formed by a group of people, and its right and liabilities separate from those of the individuals involved. It may...
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