315 U.S. 740 (1942), 252, Allen-Bradley Local No. 1111, United Electrical, Radio & Machine

Docket Nº:No. 252
Citation:315 U.S. 740, 62 S.Ct. 820, 86 L.Ed. 1154
Party Name:Allen-Bradley Local No. 1111, United Electrical, Radio & Machine
Case Date:March 30, 1942
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 740

315 U.S. 740 (1942)

62 S.Ct. 820, 86 L.Ed. 1154

Allen-Bradley Local No. 1111, United Electrical, Radio & Machine

No. 252

United States Supreme Court

March 30, 1942

Workers of America v. Wisconsin Employment Relations Board

Argued March 2, 1942

APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF WISCONSIN

Syllabus

1. Pursuant to the Wisconsin Employment Peace Act, the Wisconsin Employment Relation Board, upon findings of fact and conclusions of law in a dispute between an employer and a labor union, ordered the union, its officers, agents and members to cease and desist from mass picketing of the employer's factory, threatening personal injury or property damage to employees desiring to work, obstructing entrance to and egress from the employer's factory, obstructing the streets and public roads about the factory, and picketing the homes of employees.

Held, that the order was not unconstitutional as conflicting with the National Labor Relations Act. Pp. 745-748.

2. As construed by the state supreme court, which construction is conclusive here, the Wisconsin Act affects the rights of parties to proceedings pending before the state board only in the manner and to the extent prescribed by the board's order. P. 747.

3. An intention of Congress to exclude States from exerting their police power must be clearly manifested. P. 749.

4. Hines v Davidowitz, 312 U.S. 52, distinguished. P. 749.

237 Wis. 164, 295 N.W. 791, affirmed

Appeal from the affirmance of a judgment sustaining an order of the Wisconsin Employment Relations Board.

Page 741

DOUGLAS, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

The sole question presented by this case is whether an order of the Wisconsin Employment Relations Board entered under the Wisconsin Employment Peace Act (L. 1939, ch. 57; Wis.Stat. 1939, ch. 111, pp. 1610-1618) is unconstitutional and void as being repugnant to the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act. 49 Stat. 449, 29 U.S.C. § 151 et seq.

Sec. 111.06(2) of the state Act provides in part:

It shall be an unfair labor practice for an employee individually or in concert with others:

(a) To coerce or intimidate an employee in the enjoyment of his legal rights, including those guaranteed in section 111.04,1 or to intimidate his family, picket his

Page 742

domicile, or injure the person or property of such employee or his family.

* * * *

(f) To hinder or prevent, by mass picketing, threats, intimidation, force or coercion of any kind the pursuit of any lawful work or employment, or to obstruct or interfere with entrance to or egress from any place of employment, or to obstruct or interfere with free and uninterrupted use of public roads, streets, highways, railways, airports, or other ways of travel or conveyance.

The state Board is given authority on the filing of a complaint to conduct hearings, to make findings of fact, and to issue orders.2 § 111.07. Orders of the state Board are enforceable by the circuit courts. Id. Appellee, Allen-Bradley Co., is engaged in the manufacturing business in Wisconsin. Appellant union is a labor organization composed of the employees of that company. The union had a contract with the company governing terms and conditions of employment. The contract was cancelled by the union. Thereafter the union, by secret ballot, ordered a strike, which was called on May 11, 1939. The strike lasted about three months, during which time the company continued to operate its plant. Differences arose between the employees who were on strike and the company and those employees who continued to work. The company thereupon filed a petition with the state Board charging the union and certain of its officers and members

Page 743

with unfair labor practices. The union answered and objected, inter alia, to the jurisdiction of the state Board on the ground that, as respects the matters in controversy, the company was subject exclusively to the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act and to the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal Board. The state Board made findings of fact and entered an order against the union and its officers and members. On a petition for review, the circuit court sustained and enforced the Board's order. The Supreme Court of Wisconsin affirmed that judgment. 237 Wis. 164, 295 N.W. 791. The case is here on appeal. Judicial Code, § 237(a), 28 U.S.C. § 344(a).

The findings and order of the state Board as summarized by the Supreme Court (237 Wis. pages 168-170) are as follows:

Briefly, from the findings, the following facts appear:

(a) Appellants engaged in mass picketing at all entrances to the premises of the company for the purpose of hindering and preventing the pursuit of lawful work and employment by employees who desired to work.

(b) They obstructed and interfered with the entrance to and egress from the factory and obstructed and interfered with the free and uninterrupted use of the streets and sidewalks surrounding the factory.

(c) They threatened bodily injury and property damage to many of the employees who desired to continue their employment.

(d) They required of persons desiring to enter the factory to first obtain passes from the union. Persons holding such passes were admitted without interference.

(e) They picketed the homes of employees who continued in the employment of the company.

(f) That the union, by its officers and many of its members, injured the persons and property of employees who desired to continue their employment.

(g) That the fourteen individual appellants, who were striking employees, had engaged [62 S.Ct. 823] in various acts of misconduct.

Page 744

The facts relating to those were found specifically. The acts consisted of intimidating and preventing employees from pursuing their work by threats, coercion, and assault; by damaging property of employees who continued to work, and, as to one of them, by carrying concrete rocks which he intended to use to intimidate employees who desired to work.

Based upon these findings, the Board found, as conclusions of law, that the union was guilty of unfair labor practices in the following respects:

(a) Mass picketing for the purpose of hindering and preventing the pursuit of lawful work.

(b) Threatening employees desiring to work with bodily injury and injury to their property.

(c) Obstructing and interfering with entrance to and egress from the factory.

(d) Obstructing and interfering with the free and uninterrupted use of the streets and public roads surrounding the factory.

(e) Picketing the homes of employees.

As to the fourteen individual appellants, the Board concluded that each of them was guilty of unfair labor practices by reason of threats, assaults, and other misdemeanors committed by them as set out in the findings of fact.

Based upon its findings of fact and conclusions of law, the Board ordered that the union, its officers, agents, and members

(1) Cease and desist from:

(a) Mass picketing.

(b) Threatening employees.

(c) Obstructing or interfering with the factory entrances.

(d) Obstructing or interfering with the free use of public streets, roads and sidewalks.

(e) Picketing the domiciles of employees.

The order required the union to post notices at its headquarters that it had ceased and desisted in the manner aforesaid and to notify the Board in writing of steps taken to comply with the order.

Page 745

As to the fourteen individual appellants, the order made no determination based upon the finding that they were individually guilty of unfair labor practices.

It was admitted that the company was subject to the National Labor Relations Act. The federal Board, however, had not undertaken in this case to exercise the jurisdiction which that Act conferred on it. Accordingly, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin upheld the order of the state Board stating that "there can be no conflict between the acts until they are applied to the same labor dispute." It was urged before that court, as it has been here, that there was nevertheless a conflict between that part of the findings of the state Board which deals with the individual appellants and the National Labor Relations Act. The contention is that the individual appellants who were found guilty of unfair labor practices, as defined in the state Act, are under the terms of the federal Act, still employees of the company,3 while, under the state Act, that relationship is severed.4 As to that alleged conflict, the Wisconsin Supreme Court made two answers: first, the federal Act had not been applied to this labor dispute. Second, it is the order, not the findings, of the state Board which affects the employer and employee relationship. [62 S.Ct. 824] Since there was no provision in the order which suspended the status as employees of the fourteen individual appellants

Page 746

who were found guilty of unfair labor practices, there was no conflict as to their employee status under the state and federal Acts.

Various views have been advanced here. On the one hand, it is urged that in this situation, as in the case of federal control over intrastate transportation rates (Shreveport Case, 234 U.S. 342, 357; Board of Railroad Comm'rs v. Great Northern Ry. Co., 281 U.S. 412, 424, 426-428), state action should not be foreclosed in absence of a finding by the federal Board under § 10(a) that an employer's labor practice so affects interstate commerce (Labor Board v. Fainblatt, 306 U.S. 601) that it should be prevented. On the other hand, it is earnestly contended that the state Act, viewed as a whole, so undermines rights protected and granted by the federal Act and is so hostile to the policy of the federal Act that it should not be allowed to survive. Acceptance of the latter theory would necessitate a reversal of the judgment below. Acceptance of the former would mean that, in all cases, orders of the state Board would be...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP