134 F.2d 70 (7th Cir. 1943), 8149, N.L.R.B. v. J.I. Case Co.

Docket Nº:8149.
Citation:134 F.2d 70
Case Date:February 26, 1943
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Page 70

134 F.2d 70 (7th Cir. 1943)




No. 8149.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

February 26, 1943

Page 71

Robert B. Watts, Ernest A. Gross, Robert Todd McKinlay, Howard Lichtenstein, Asst. Gen. Counsel, and Owsley Vose, and Jacob I. Karro, Attys., National Labor Relations Board, all of Washington, D.C., for petitioner.

Ben T. Reidy, of Rock Island, Ill., and Clark M. Robertson and Howard R. Johnson, both of Milwaukee, Wis., for respondent.

Before EVANS and KERNER, Circuit Judges, and LINDLEY, District Judge.

LINDLEY, District Judge.

Petitioner seeks to have enforced its order entered in mid-summer, 1942, directing respondent to cease and desist from certain acts declared violative of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 151 et seq., and to give notice of such action.

Beginning with 1937, respondent tendered to each of its employees at its Rock Island manufacturing plant a contract fixing wages and terms of employment for a year ending July 31, to be renewed from year to year, that in effect at the time of the hearing expiring July 31, 1942. Execution of this agreement was entirely voluntary, and in no way a condition precedent to initial employment or to continuation of employment. Approximately 75 percent of the employees signed.

On January 26, 1942, an election having been held to determine the collective bargaining agent of the employees, at which 352 votes were cast for International Union United Automobile, Aircraft & Agricultural Implement Workers of America, C.I.O., herein termed the Union, and 190 against, the Board certified the Union as the exclusive bargaining representative. On March 7, the Union requested the plant manager to bargain collectively with it, with respect to wages, hours and other conditions of employment, as the exclusive representative of all employees. Respondent refused, declaring that respondent could not negotiate with the Union in any matter affecting the rights and obligations of respondent and its employees 'under the individual contracts while the contracts remain in full force and effect. ' It expressed willingness to bargain on all matters which did not affect the rights of the respective parties under the contracts and to deal with the Union as exclusive bargaining agency upon all matters upon their expiration and, by letter, notified its employees of its decision, saying in part: 'In other words, the Union has taken the position that the company must tear up its contracts with its individual employees and disregard the rights and obligations of its employees and of itself under those agreements. The Company believes and has been advised that the contracts for their term constitute legal and binding obligation both on the part of the Company and on the part of the employees, and that its individual employees have constitutional rights which they are entitled to have preserved and which the Company has no right to surrender.'

The Board interpreted this action as refusal upon respondent's part to bargain collectively and further held that, by writing the letter referred to, the employer had interfered with, restrained and coerced its employees in the exercise of their rights guaranteed by Section 7 of the Act. It...

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